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Using ICTs to enhance adoption of new agricultural technologies and innovations

This project aims to see if information and communication technology (ICT)-based extension services can reach farmers, delivering information when and as needed. It will examine the shortcomings of the ICT-based extension services in the Eastern Gangetic Plains and their potential to reach small and women farmers. This could lead to a program that helps to achieve sustainable cropping practices, and overcomes technology adoption barriers.
Many Asian and African countries struggle to adopt nutrient-enriched crops, sustainable cropping practices and available agricultural technologies. Small landholder farmers lack information about such crops, inputs and cropping techniques; they often lack money; and new technologies are risky. Governments, development practitioners, non-government organizations and researchers have searched for effective means of disseminating information, but geographical barriers and lack of resources and manpower (extension agents) impede their ability to regularly visit all farmers in their areas of jurisdiction to deliver information in a timely manner.
ICTs have become vital tools for development in many countries, and have great potential for agricultural extension. While the use of ICTs in agriculture is increasing in Asia, little is known about their effect on adoption of agricultural technologies.
This research will determine how many farmers in SRFSI field research districts use ICT; why they use ICT; and what farmers (both men and women) need to use ICT in making decisions. Learning about ICT-based extension services in agriculture will help to understand how ICT can improve farmers' yield and productivity. Understanding factors that influence the adoption of technology will improve its applicability for wide scale communication, for using research findings, and for scaling out the adoption of innovations developed in the SRFSI research project.