ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications is in process of developing a software, aimed at ensuring guidance to farmers through web, call centre and SMS.

The uniqueness of the project is that the needs of every category of farmers will be addressed and guidance will be provided to them at their doorstep according to area of their farm and level of investment they are willing to do.

National ICT Research and Development Fund, a department of the Ministry is executing the project in collaboration with University of Agriculture, Faisalabad at a cost of Rs 29.58 million.  The project is expected to be completed by June 2015.

According to project brief, the farmers will get an information about cost of inputs, prices of commodities and income to be generated.

With regard to importance of agricultural sector, there is a dire need to develop e-system for economical and site specific crop production technologies which may address needs of all categories of farmers of every district and to disseminate this information to end user through all state of art ICT means. An e-system, which serves as a centralised knowledge-base for every district would be developed.

The information regarding the cropped area, cropping systems, area and yield of various crops, use of fertilizer, area of farms, number of farms, kind and area of orchards, livestock population, agriculture machinery, irrigation facilities, inputs availability, marketing facilities, soil types, social status of the people etc. would be collected for every district.

All the information collected will be classified into various categories through software. At the same time, the latest research findings regarding crop production technologies will be collected from various research formations working for that very district.

All the information will be analyzed and synthesized to standardize site specific crop production technologies for all categories of the farms. The economic analysis will also be an integral part of production technologies.

The information will be used to develop the best production technology, using economic analysis through the high speed computing devices (server machines).

At the end of every phase, the information generated for each district will be shared with all stakeholders working in the district to impart awareness to them and to get their feedback.

After standardizing the technology for Multan (the first district), a conference will be arranged by inviting all the stakeholders at provincial and federal level to have detailed review of the technology standardized and the technology will be improved in light of suggestions of conference participants.

The technology will be made available to all stakeholders through the user friendly web interfaces, and Farmer Facilitation Centre to be established in the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

Toll free numbers will be provided in this center for the convenience of the farmers. SMS facility will also be provided to extend the technologies to the end users.

Agri Information Department will collaborate to create awareness among the end users while Extension department will collaborate for creating awareness through meetings, leaflets and posters. 

During the project period, three faculty seminars will be engaged to give awareness to professors and graduate students about use of ICT in improving the productivity of agriculture and output of the project. This effort is being done for the first time in the country.