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Jharkhand Agriculture Minister Randhir Kumar Singh on Friday urged agricultural scientists and IT experts to cash in on the immense potential of information communication technology (ICT) to improve farm output, marketing, processing, export and precision farming, The Telegraph reported.
Inaugurating a two-day national seminar on "ICT application in changing face of agriculture" at Birsa Agricultural University (BAU), Kanke in Ranchi, he said ICT could also be effectively used to meet the challenges posed to the farm sector by climate change.
About 140 agricultural scientists and IT experts from across India were taking part in the seminar.
"To accelerate the pace of agricultural development in the state, the government has decided to establish Krishi Vigyan Kendras in all the subdivisions. Besides, a separate agricultural university with headquarters at Godda is being set up with the support of the central government to cater to the area-specific needs of Santhal Pargana," the minister said.
Speaking on the occasion, Parvinder Kaushal, Vice Chancellor, BAU said ICT could be of immense help in information exchange, diagnostic and advisory services, surveillance through censors and image processing, planning through remote sensing and GIS application.
Jata Shankar Chaudhary, special secretary in the Jharkhand home department, said, ICT was of utmost importance to farming because the sector's target group was vast.
"Out of the 12 disasters notified by the Centre, drought was the biggest one for the state. Its socio-economic impact has a cascading effect on growth," he said.
Addressing the gathering, P. Krishna Reddy, head of the agricultural research centre at Indian Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, said agri-scientists and IT experts should come together to design an ICT system suiting Indian farmers.
"Earlier, farmers used to bring uprooted plants or diseased specimen of leaf, stem, fruit and vegetable to scientists for diagnosis and remedial recommendations but now they are doing and getting the required help through mail and WhatsApp," he said.