Role of IT in modern agriculture

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THE DEFINITION of Inofrmation Technology (IT) by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), is “The study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware.” IT deals with the use of electronic computers and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit, and securely retrieve information.


Information technology is utilizing computers along with telecommunication equipment for the storage, retrieval, transmission, and manipulation of data, among other tasks, which are aimed to improve the efficiency of different sectors. With the advancement of IT, other sectors benefit from it as well since it can be used as a tool for improving efficiency and overall productivity. Successful integration of IT in different sectors has made it possible for people in the IT industry make changes which can help other sectors, such as agriculture, as well. While people may be thinking that IT applications are only limited to those which make use of modern gadgets, or those who focus on numbers and such, the agricultural sector and its production may also benefit from it. Knowledge of IT is important because; IT is everywhere, IT can help you to be more productive, IT will enhance your career and IT will give you a word of opportunity


Agriculture is a major sector, which is vital for the survival of modern man. Plants are the producers in the food chain, and without them, the life cycle would just not be possible. Agricultural produce, though highly perishable compared to other food sources, is essential for survival. Crops are used to produce several food sources by themselves or through by-products such as bread, powders, organic additives to other goods and the like.


The produce from agriculture drives trade from one country to another, brings income for farmers, makes productive use of otherwise idle land, and brings food on the table. It is such an important part of everyones daily life, although it may not be seen as a direct factor since the produce goes a long way before reaching the hands of everyone who benefits from it. Because of its importance to society, it is but a must to evolve with the times and adjust to meet the needs of modern people. By adapting and making use of IT to help improve agricultural progress, everyone benefits from the union of these sectors.


Upon first glance, it may be challenging to see how IT and agriculture sectors may work together being completely different. Agriculture has been around since men first learned to tend to his own crops and not depend on what just grows where he goes. IT, on the other hand, is a much younger advancement that man has developed.


The main phases of the agriculture industry include crop cultivation, water management, fertilizer application, fertilization, pest management, harvesting, post-harvest handling, transport of food products, packaging, food preservation, food processing, value addition, quality management, food safety, food storage, and food marketing.


Since IT encompasses a lot of disciplines, it can also be successfully integrated to many different sectors to help them become more efficient and productive. It may take some getting used to, but when IT is successfully integrated to agriculture, it helps a great deal and can definitely contribute to positive changes that farmers can prove with the growth of their output.


IT has made its way into the agricultural sector, and with positive results. To name a few, here are some of its effects:


Improved decision making:


By having the necessary information, farmers can make better and more informed decision concerning their agricultural activities. May it be about who to get their grains from or perhaps who to sell it to, the communication channels that information technology brings makes production up to distribution easier for the farmers. The exchange of knowledge from various countries and organization also helps farmers be more aware of factors to consider before making their decisions.


Better planning:


IT has paved the way to come up with farming software which can keep better track of crops, predict yields, when to best plant and what to plant, to intercrop or focus on just one product, or to determine the current need of the crops and just about everything needed to improve production and income. By adjusting to the modern farming methodologies, farmers can have better control of their crops. Gaining information from their farm is essential in sustaining its success and fueling further growth


Community involvement:


There are several programs which are made possible by IT applications, and community involvement in agriculture can be increased as well. When a community adopts modern methods for agriculture, the production of local goods can be increased. There are some places where people greatly benefit from the land and their resources for agriculture, and with IT, there can be improved union in local farmers which can lead to their communitys overall improved production that may lead to better income for everyone involved.


Agricultural breakthroughs


IT makes the spread of information concerning the latest agricultural breakthroughs more possible. When scientists develop new and improved grains or find techniques to help winter crops become stronger against the cold, farmers from all over the world may benefit from the same breakthroughs simply by being connected to the rest of the agricultural world. Sharing information to help everyone progress is made much easier through resources made available and accessible by IT.


Agriculture for everyone:


Farmers have in-depth knowledge when it comes to their trade. However, interested individuals who may be called backyard farmers may also benefit from how modern technology has changed how agriculture is seen. Growing your own sustainable garden of herbs, fruit trees, and other agricultural produce can be possible in a smaller scale. Planting is beneficial in more ways than one, and having your own produce even helps assure the freshness and quality of the food your family eats.


People only have to open their minds to the endless possibilities that technological advancement can bring to agriculture. Instead of being locked away with the traditional strategies for planting, why not get involved in new and improved methods of farming? Todays society can benefit from agricultural advancements and live sustainable lives by improving the production, harvest methods, and distribution of agricultural goods. All of these effects and more are possible through the successful merge of IT and agriculture which is why farmers are getting more and more encouraged to take part in this positive change.


Let me conclude this article by reiterating that there are great opportunities in applying information technology in agriculture so as to increase agricultural productivity and bring about development about the sector. The opportunities include improvement of food security through access to timely information; provision of equitable access to new techniques for improving agricultural production; improved information flow for better research and extension service linkages; better coordination and information flow.


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Published in: Volume 06 Issue 24

Short Link: http://www.technologytimes.pk/?p=13544