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Sub theme 1: ICT innovations for revitalizing Agricultural extension


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Title: Sub theme 1: ICT innovations for revitalizing Agricultural extension

Sub theme 1 ICT innovations for revitalizing
Agricultural extension
  • Policy and Perspectives
  • Providing gender sensitive enabling environment

Creating Informative/ Knowledge society
  • The success of the ICT enabled projects in rural
    areas largely depended on potential for economies
    of scale, societal acceptance and capacity to use
    information technologies.
  • Five main areas of approach
  • Creating an enabling environment
  • - Telecom regulation ICT delivery
  • Developing content which speaks of women/mens
    concerns and reflects their local knowledge
  • Education of young girls, boys, men and women in
  • Promoting increased employment in the IT sector
    and use of ICTs for men and women groups and
    grass-root organisations
  • Implementing e-governance strategies which are
    accessible including advocacy activities.

Strategies for Enabling environment
  • ICT access strategies need to address the
    barriers experienced especially by women
  • Regulation to support these goals
  • Technology mixes, and use of low-cost technology
    often produce best results
  • Public access points/cyber cafes/tele centres
  • To use multiple media - Radio, TV, Video, Print,
    Phone/Cell, CD/DVD and internet

Enabling Environment Areas for Research
  • Assessment of use by men and women of information
    kiosk/ telecentres and other public access points
  • Centre sustainability value to users effect on
    local economy e-governance
  • Information delivery models incorporating mix of
  • Emphasis on women-appropriate training modes and
  • Evaluation of ICT projects, including gender
    analysis of costs and benefits best practices
  • Gender patterns and practices in defining and
    creating content at the local level

Telecom Regulation, Strategies
  • Implement cost-effective and appropriate
  • Universal access
  • Liberalisation - opening sector to competition
  • Licensing and regulation keep charges at
    affordable rates allocate quota of licenses to
    women-owned businesses waive fees in certain
  • Build capacity of men and women training
  • Encourage access to government services and
    information, especially for women
  • Promote community leadership

Regulation Areas for Research and Action
  • Research and data to demonstrate links between
    ICTs and development
  • Analysis of gendered effects of telecom policy
    and regulation
  • Effects on gender and social equity of high
    technologies such as GIS
  • Development of guidelines on mainstreaming gender
    into ICT policy
  • Identification and incorporation of social
    elements of long-term goals into regulation
  • Strategies for making low-income markets
    attractive to investors and providers

  • Need for content that is
  • developed by men and women, reflecting their
    knowledge and perspectives
  • helpful to fulfil daily tasks and
  • aiding in increasing income
  • available in local languages
  • accessible to non-literates
  • Strategically allocated resources and support
    could produce enormous benefits
  • Training needed, as is the recognition that
    indigenous knowledge is valuable.

Content Areas for Research
  • How to use ICTs to preserve men and womens
  • Dissemination of men and womens knowledge where
    it may be beneficial
  • The role of ICTs in ensuring that people benefit
    financially and otherwise from this knowledge

Issues in Agriculture
  • Connecting men and women farmers, fisherpeople
    and exporters with information on availability,
  • Dissemination of scientific farming information
    using media mix- radio, video, computer,
    internet, print and face-to face discussions
  • Facilitators training- for capacity building of
    rural men and women
  • Networking value chains

ICT Strategies
  • Inculcate confidence/ security in the use of ICTs
  • Gender perspective in codes of conduct and
    guidelines on Internet content
  • Gender perspective drafting by all stake holders
    in national ICT policies and legislation
    including education
  • Use of the internet through capacity building,
    and, convergence with other digital media
  • ICT capacity building in men womens

ICT Strategies
  • Development of locally relevant content in local
    languages by and for men and women
  • Design content to overcome barriers of literacy
  • ICT industry to develop applications for young
    boys and girls for positive self-development and
    computer skills
  • Compile best practices of men and women in ICT
    and education, disseminate through libraries,
    databases, fora and websites

ICT Strategies
  • Promote awareness/benefits of ICTs through mass
    media, exhibitions etc.
  • Provide affordable ICT assets, resources
    bandwidth to rural areas through community access
  • Support the development of IT interface language
    and local content related to handicraft,
    agriculture, fisheries, livestock, savings and

ICT Strategies
  • Strengthen ICT based network opportunities by
    building on existing community network,
    partnerships among GO, NGOs, private sector
    community for information sharing
    entrepreneurship development
  • Mobilize resources to invest in ICTs for
    development with specific reference to the
    advancement of rural men and women

Gender perspective for Ag Extension
  • The principle of gender equality is
    enshrined in the Indian Constitution
  • (Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental
    Duties and Directive Principles).
  • The Constitution not only grants equality
    to women, but also empowers the State to adopt
    measures of positive discrimination in favour of
    women to bring about the advancement, development
    and empowerment of women in different spheres
    through policies, programmes and systems ensuring
    mainstreaming of womens perspectives in all
    developmental processes, as catalysts,
    participants and recipients.
  • Average contribution of women in farm production
  • - significant as farmers, co-farmers and
  • - 55-65(higher percent in certain regions
    farming systems)
  • Understanding roles performed by farmwomen and
    appropriate addressing of needs, issues
  • - access to resources inputs, markets,
    information services
  • - relevant technology skills and capacity
    building (including the ergonomically suited and
    drudgery reducing technologies
  • - inclusion in social institutions for
    improvement in decision making and stemming
    middleperson exploitation

Suggestions for effective and functional ICT
  • Agricultural Programmes to be telecasted during
    evening hours for effective use of traditional
  • Agricultural information to be informed through
    phones/cell phones
  • The information on agriculture problems and
    solutions to be made available in computer which
    should be accessible in village with an
    operator/also interested to get training in using
  • Contact phone numbers of the agriculture experts
    to be made available. Also training to make and
    use database for contacting prospective customers
    for ag marketing.
  • To have more trainings/exposure to information
    on Herbal products preparation for betterment
    of alternative livelihood.

Good ICT Practices
  • Media research to find the access, use and
  • Regularised awareness creation campaigns and
    exposure trainings on ICT use
  • Farm family approach involving farm youth for
    ICT training
  • Using trained Farm youth as unconventional
    agriculture communication sources
  • Integrated ICT services applicable to livelihood
    activities including agriculture, health,
    education and e business accessible at
    convenient time and place for farm women
  • Development of good technical and analytical
  • Variety of systems to monitor progress on
    sustainable basis
  • Use of short term targets and expert support in
    livelihood activities through ICTs

Research in ICT and agriculture
  • Gendered effects and benefits of use of
    technologies in agriculture through networking
  • Feasibility, efficiency and reach of various
    strategies for using ICTs for extension
  • Data and indicators on rural men and women
    participation in ICT use and ICT employment
  • Review of existing information on use of
    production technologies by rural men and women
  • Synthesis of existing work and research on
    gender, ICT and agriculture for rural development

ICTs for entrepreneurial development
  • Information on developing and maintaining a
    business - providing business information on
    how-to, design of product, prices, best
    practices, and support
  • Use of ICTs as a tool for production by providing
    access to technologies to improve farm yields,
    increase quality and diversity of production,
    refinement and development of production

Good ICT practices
  • Media research to find the access, use and
  • Regularised awareness creation campaigns and
    exposure trainings on ICT use
  • Farm family approach involving farm youth for
    ICT training
  • Using trained Farm youth as unconventional
    agriculture communication sources
  • Integrated ICT services applicable to livelihood
    activities including agriculture, health,
    education and e business accessible at
    convenient time for farm women
  • Development of good technical and analytical
  • Variety of systems to monitor progress on
    sustainable basis
  • Use of short term targets and expert support in
    livelihood activities through ICTs

Mainstreaming a Gender Perspective in the
Development Process
  • Policies, programmes and systems established to
    ensure mainstreaming of womens perspectives in
    all developmental processes, as catalysts,
    participants and recipients.
  • Wherever there are gaps in policies and
    programmes, women specific interventions to be
    undertaken to bridge these.
  • Coordinating and monitoring mechanisms to be
    devised to assess from time to time the progress
    of such mainstreaming mechanisms.
  • Womens issues and concerns as a result to be
    specially addressed and reflected in all
    concerned laws, sectoral policies, plans and
    programmes of action.

Gender Budgeting
  • A dissection of the government budget to
    establish its gender-differential impacts and to
    translate gender commitments into budgetary
  • The main objective of a gender-sensitive budget
  • to improve the analysis of incidence of budgets
  • to attain more effective targeting of public
  • to offset undesirable gender-specific
  • Gender budgeting is gaining increasing
    acceptance as a tool for engendering macro
    economic policy-making.

Future Initiatives for Comprehensive assessment
of gender impact of Budgets
  • Organize workshops and studies on refining
    methodology for gender analysis of budgets
  • Formulate and disseminate uniform guidelines on
    gender budgeting and analysis in NARS
    organisations and develop appropriate software
    for such analysis
  • Pursue formulation and adoption of schedules and
    formats for working out womens share in all
    public expenditure at center, state and district
  • Extend the nature and scope of gender analysis of
    budgets to include benefit incidence analysis in
    specific geographical and sectoral areas and over
    a larger time frame
  • Promote capacity-building of research
    organizations for such analysis

Gender mainstreaming for NAES
  • To ensure that benefits of training, extension
    and various programmes will reach women in
    proportion to their numbers
  • Support Services like child care, crèches
    facilities at work places
  • Extension institutions to create an enabling
  • Women-friendly personnel policies to encourage
    women to participate effectively in the
    developmental process
  • Social Empowerment of Women - a gender sensitive
    educational system, to increase enrolment and
    retention rates of girls
  • Improve the quality of training to facilitate
    life-long learning as well as development of
    occupation/vocation/technical skills by women
  • Sectoral time targets in existing policies with a
    special focus on girls and women, particularly
    those belonging to weaker sections including the
    Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/Other Backward
  • Gender sensitive curricula developed at all
    levels of educational system in order to address
    sex stereotyping as one of the causes of gender
  • A holistic approach to womens health
    Introducing health/ stress management programmes
    in NAES, Womens traditional knowledge about
    health care and nutrition will be recognized
    through proper documentation and its use to be

Recommendations of USAID
  • IR1 Use of appropriate practices, innovations
    and research by farmers increased
  • Value chain analysis and needs assessment
    Identify knowledge gaps related to farming
    practices for men and women farmers, and
    understand constraints faced by men and women in
    achieving food security in the areas of
    availability, access, and utilization.
  • Training and communication Disseminate
    technology and information that encourages
    sustainable agriculture, enhances food security
    in all three areas of availability, access, and
    utilization using forms of communication
    appropriate for reaching women as well as men,
    such as through Farmer Schools or womens
    meetings in the neighborhood.
  • Create demand for extension and accountability in
    implementing government subsidies and schemes
    Establish linkages with agriculture and extension
    services such as KVK and ATMA and district level
    DAC departments and line agencies for accessing
    government schemes and subsidies, such as NREGA
    and facilitating convergence for an integrated
    approach to food security. Facilitate the ability
    of farmers to find information on all the schemes
    and subsidies available to the community in the
    project area and promote demand for extension
    services and accountability in implementation of
    government and programs by mobilizing men and
    women farmers, for example, using the Right to
    Information Act, and the Women Component Plan.
    Demand is created when men and women farmers
    apply for subsidies, training, and information
    under various schemes and pursue the applications
    by demanding the services from the government
    departments. As described in the text, the 30
    budget allotted for women under the schemes is
    underutilized, and women can be encouraged to
    apply for benefits under these schemes.
  • Promote appropriate technologies Establish
    linkages with government, public and private
    research organizations as appropriate and
    facilitate the promotion of technologies and
    practices that can be used by men and women
    effectively and those that reduce the work burden
    of women. Examples are the new methods for
    planting rice, new types of weeding implements,
    tools which are lighter and easy to repair, etc.
    Undertake technology transfer to women in various
    aspects of farming.
  • Engage women and men farmers in research
    Encourage and facilitate the participation of men
    and women farmers in demonstration and trials of
    new technologies and practices. Usually men
    farmers who get to participate in field trials.
    Women farmers can be encouraged to participate
    not only to ensure that their perceptions and
    needs are taken into account but also to enable
    them to learn new methods and technologies.

Recommendations of USAID
  • IR2 Agricultural productivity increased
  • Facilitate access to inputs and productive
    resources It is important for men and women
    farmers to be able to access and use inputs such
    as seeds, fertilizer, water as required for the
    completion of cultivation processes. Appropriate
    quantities and quality of inputs is important.
    These inputs need to be accessed from traders,
    seed companies, and government facilities.
    Farmers need guidance and information about what
    to get and from where. Local men and women
    leaders can be trained to provide this
    information to the farmers. Self Help Groups of
    men and women can be formed to facilitate access
    to credit. These groups will also provide a
    platform for dissemination of information, build
    leadership, and coordinate project activities.
    Seed banks and fodder banks can also be set up.
    NREGA can be accessed to implement water
    harvesting and soil and water conservation
  • Promote sustainable agriculture Focus on
    agricultural research that provides solutions to
    farmers location-specific problems based on soil
    and moisture conditions, methods of sowing,
    application of inputs, types and dosage of
    nutrients, pesticides, crop mix, and other
    factors on seed production and storage, compost,
    green manure, using forms of communication and
    training appropriate for reaching women as well
    as men. For example, greater use of audio-visual
    communication will be required for women with low
    literacy levels, the level of language used will
    depend upon the level of education, time and
    location of meetings is a function of the
    convenience and mobility of the women.
  • Increase yields through efficient use of
    resources Techniques that support efficient use
    of land and water resources can be promoted such
    as advanced cropping technologies, water
    harvesting, groundwater management, and soil
    conservation. NREGA can be used here as well.
    This indicator is the same for men and women
    farmers. When NREGA is accessed for these
    interventions, special attention can be paid to
    involving women and ensuring that they are paid
    equal wages as men for equal work. Women can also
    be encouraged to become supervisors on field
  • IR3 Farmers linked to markets
  • Build womens capacities and bargaining power It
    is usually men who take the produce to the market
    and retain control over the profits generated
    from the sale. Women are hesitant to go to the
    market as they do not have the confidence,
    skills, and bargaining power to deal with the
    market interactions. The first step therefore
    would be to develop leadership and bargaining
    skills and expose women to market interactions.
  • Encourage and facilitate the formation of
    producers groups with opportunities for women to
    play leadership roles Facilitate the formation
    of farmers groups for taking produce directly to
    markets instead of through traders and middlemen.
    Create access for women in markets at different
    levels through these groups from village to
    market yards.
  • Facilitate access to information on market
    dynamics and enable men and women to make
    informed choices about when and where to sell
    their produce Partner organizations can
    facilitate the ability of men and women farmers
    to link up to market information networks such
    AgmarkNet1 of the Directorate of Marketing and
    Inspection, Ministry of Agriculture, ITC
    echoupals2, IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd3, and Reuters
    Market Light text message service for farmers4,
    for accessing market related information.

Recommendations of USAID
  • IR4 Trade expanded
  • Link women with markets so they connect to local,
    regional and global economy from which they are
    currently sidelined.
  • Explore options for engaging with fair trade
    schemes. Fair trade schemes often include gender
    equity as one of their standards in certification
    programs. The World Fair Trade Organization
    includes gender equity as one of its principles,
    stating, Fair Trade means that womens work is
    properly valued and rewarded. Fair Trade Forum
    India (FTF-I)5 is the national network for fair
    trade in India, and is the country office of the
    World Fair Trade Organization Asia. Other
    organizations to explore are Fairtrade
    Foundation,6 ENGAGE,7 and also the agriculture
    section of InfoChange India.8
  • IR5 Nutrition improved
  • Integrated farming systems Promote integrated
    farming systems that include food production,
    livestock management, and fisheries wherever
    applicable. This will enable farming families to
    have diversified sources of nutritious foods, and
    will allow space for farming activities in which
    women are engaged in and which provide them with
    cash resources such as dairy and livestock
  • Production of nutritious food basket Encourage
    production of staple foods, vegetables, and
    fruits in household farm plots. Again, women are
    generally engaged in production of staple foods
    and vegetables. Encouraging and facilitating
    women to grow these in farm plots will ensure
    that these items are included in the daily diets
    of families. Combined with nutrition education
    this will enable women (since they most often
    cook the food) to provide their families with a
    healthy diet.
  • Increase food security at community level
    Encourage formation of community grain, seed
    fodder banks. Experience has shown that grain,
    seed and fodder banks which are usually managed
    by womens groups contribute to increasing the
    food security at the community level, helping
    poor families to access food, particularly when
    crops fail or when the family is facing a
    financial crisis.
  • Improve utilization of food at household level
    Address access to nutrition and food security
    within households by creating awareness among men
    and women about differential access to food and
    differences in food consumption patterns and
    practices which are determined by social customs.
    Also provide information about incorporating
    various foods as sources of nutrition in the
    daily diet
  • Address issues of water quality and nutrition
    Groundwater is used for drinking and irrigation.
    There is evidence of excess fluoride in
    groundwater in many states across India,
    including those in which USAID projects are
    currently ongoing. It has been found that
    improved nutrition lowers the negative impact of
    excess intake of fluoride. The concentration of
    fluoride can be diluted with fresh water. Efforts
    need to be made to harvest rainwater and recharge
    groundwater in these areas. The Mahatma Gandhi
    NREGA can be used for enhancing the water regimes
    in the area.

  • A pro-active gender sensitive ICT strategy
    is imperative to build the capacities of the
    rural women to enjoy the fruits of development,
    sustain their livelihoods, and improve their
    quality of life.

Thank you