Why Information Technology in Agriculture
In India, agriculture has been the livelihood for very large majority of population. From being an occupation for very long, today agriculture is turning into a struggling pre-occupation.

Alternates for development and growth of agriculture, that can also benefit the cultivators are limited. Many solutions, mostly related to technology, inputs and infrastructure implemented earlier, are loosing to deliver incremental benefits in present circumstances.

There is now an urgent need to convert agriculture into agri-businesses, which are economically viable and sustainable in future. In this situation, Information Technology offers new hopes.

Many sectors of economy have benefited by the use of Information Technology. The same can also happen with agriculture sector. Many small scale experiments have been conducted by many stakeholders in the recent past. Both Government as well as Private Sector organizations are working to develop new models for Information Technology applications in agriculture.

To develop Information Technology based applications for agriculture development, following issues and factors have been considered.

•  Production in agriculture, as well as consumption of agri-produce involves large numbers. Even the trade channel players also add up to very-very large numbers. Manually and through paper records, it has almost been a nightmare for managers of agri-businesses to manage this data.

•  For bulk of the food products, for very long, production and consumption remained local affairs. Only few products, either mass produced or specialty products were only distributed and consumed across long distances.

•  Today with the opening of global economy both physical and time distance between production and consumption is required to be reduced. This requires very-very efficient management of Agri-business Value Chain.

•  Most of the regulatory framework has been evolved to either protect the producers or the consumers. This restricted the entry of large private sector players in agri trade.

•  Due to lack of interest and investments by private sector, agriculture as agri-businesses has not evolved. Farmers on their own have never been adventurous enough to become entrepreneurs.

•  Integrated development initiatives covering entire value chain for agri produce has not been possible/taken up in the past by any Agri-business Enterprise.

•  Development initiatives beginning at micro levels have not grown into large initiatives at macro levels, due to many policy and management constraints. Government agencies and NGOs have mostly taken up programs covering either one or few components of Agri-business Value Chain.

•  In these programs also, most of the emphasis has been on increasing the production only. Today this does not necessarily result in better income for the producers. Scaling up of small scale successful models has not been possible, mainly because most of them were not based on sound processes & systems.

•  Lack of confidence and trust in the past has always come in the way of public-private partnerships for meaningful agri-business development initiatives.