Thursday, July 5, 2012

Elevating Agriculture Through Telecommunication in Pakistan

Elevating Agriculture Through Telecommunication in Pakistan
Mobile phone is not just a device to consume balance for calling and sending SMS, it has much wider role to play for the prosperity of any country in the world. In developing countries such as Pakistan, India, Africa and many more, telecommunication and certain mobile phone applications have started to turn around economies. Right implementation of technology is causing the soci-economic growth in these countries.
Internet and broadband has not reached in the far flung areas of Pakistan and with very bleak status of education in those areas, a common villager is forced to rely upon decades old mechanism of earning his bread and butter. Fruits of newer technologies are only limited to the urban areas.
To revive the situation, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and LIRNEasia organized a workshop in Islamabad in which role of telecommunication was discussed for the elevation of agriculture in Pakistan by upgrading the local farmer with the help of ICT tools.
LIRNEasia, a regional ICT Policy Think Tank, based in Sri Lanka brought under discussion the successful models that are being implemented across the world based on the telecommunication services.
The event was attended by large number of stake holders including World Bank, ADB, USAID, DFID, Telecom Operator’s representatives, representatives from Agriculture Companies of Pakistan etc.
 Dr. Rohan Samarjiva, CEO & Chair LIRNEasia presented a research carried out by the organization on the subject how the underprivileged make use of ICTs and findings from worldwide studies of Teleuse at the bottom of the pyramid.  He recommended that mobiles are the pre-eminent communication technology among the poor, among smallholders and those who interact with them. Yet, the use of mobiles for livelihood-related purposes is moderate in agriculture sector. He said that more mobile-based applications are needed for better diffusion of telecom in agriculture.
21% of Pakistan’s total income comes from agriculture sector which employs more than 45% of country’s total workforce and provide livelihood to 60% of our rural community.
Initiatives like e-Choupal in India have successfully upgraded 4 million farmers. The programs provides them timely and relevant information on transport, weather, market trend and future trends right on their mobile phones.
In Pakistan, a  similar initiatives – eTaleem- has just been taken by Nokia and UNESCO for promoting education through mobile phones amongst the women in rural areas of Pakistan.

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