Use of Farmersâ€™ Portal for dissemination of oil palm agro-management technology in India
In India, mobile Â phones are widely used for effective communication of various agro-management Â information to farmers. Oil palm is cultivated in India since two decades Â under irrigated conditions. The crop being new, farming technology has to be Â disseminated to field extension staff, growers and developers to take quick Â and apt decisions. Farmersâ€™ Portal launched by Government of India (GOI) for Â farming community is also being used to disseminate the oil palm farming Â technology to its stakeholders through short message services (SMS). Contents Â prepared on various aspects on oil palm cultivation were published as text Â SMS (568) to the unique mobile numbers (19,301) of stakeholders of oil palm Â in India. Messages were published in four languages viz., Hindi, Â English, Telugu and Kannada to reach the stakeholders in vernacular Â languages. Stakeholders contact the Institute, seeking more information on Â various farming practices of oil palm viz., planting, protection, Â general information, fertilizer application, irrigation, harvesting etc. Â Consultation was provided to 304 farmers who sought information on fertilizer Â management (34.2%) followed by crop protection aspects (28.3%) and general Â information (24.0%) on oil palm cultivation. Feedback received from farmers Â showed that the SMS contents were useful in the following order: irrigation Â (15%), fertilizer application (14%), disease management (8%), weed control Â (4%) and all messages were useful (59%). Majority of the farmers (68%) Â perceived the messages were relevant to their crop growth/stages and 33 per Â cent farmers were adopting the practices sent through SMS.