“Any detail is a call away” say farmers of Golaghat district, Assam

MSSRF ICT support provides more ‘Resilience’ in lockdown 

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 and Sivasagar districts together with Assam Agricultural University, organized online plant clinics and phone-in programs during May 2020, under the project RESILIENCE supported by NIBIO. There were more than 40 queries from various project villages and surrounding areas. The program was carried out with expert support from Regional Agricultural Research Station, Titabar. For the programexperts 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. Besides concerns around marketing during lockdown, there were also calls regarding improved varieties of Assam lemon, short duration rice varieties, diseases of chilli and gourd. The solutions were immediately given to farmers regarding diseases and contacts provided to procure improved varieties.

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, Gargee Baruah, Development Associate, RESILIENCE Project, Assam

Edited by: Jayashree B