May 28, 2020: During the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown, farmers moved to using ICT as a method to obtain useful information about issues related to farming. While phones provide information on various topics, there are areas where farmers need expert guidance. Considering the value of accurate information for farmers, MSSRF held a series of ICT-based programs on key issues including pest / disease infestation, market and weather.
The Village Knowledge Center established by MSSRF Golaghat district together with Assam Agricultural University, organized an online Plant Clinic on 4 May 2020, under the project RESILIENCE supported by NIBIO. There were more than 20 queries from various project villages and surrounding areas. The program was carried out with expert support from Regional Agricultural Research Station, Titabar. For the program two experts were consulted from the research station - Dr Rituraj Saikia and Ms Parinda Barua, Junior Scientist, Crop Protection.
The most frequently asked questions were related to infestation of pests on crops while also examining few symptoms of tomato bacterial disease. They were addressed in detail and the farmers were provided crop management advice.
Said Hemanta Das, a farmer “The farmers are facing a lot of problems during this period of lockdown, especially the lack of proper advice, but with the help of the ICT and the steps taken by MSSRF it was very helpful to obtain the required information. Any detail I need is now just a call away. Therefore we are in constant contact with the workers and it has become very convenient for us to acquire some knowledge about disease and pest in particular.”
Ms Parinda Barua, Junior Scientist, Crop Protection said “This is a perfect forum for farmers to communicate directly with experts. It also helps us interact with answers and provide required information. It is good for grass root level problem solving.” Over the past few weeks, the team has addressed queries through phone-ins as well, reaching a total of 134 persons from 4 programs.
Text: Pompi Dutta, Development Coordinator, RESILIENCE Project, Assam
Edited by: Jayashree B