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Telesupport Experiment for Agricultural Information Management in West Bengal, India

Goswami, Rupak and Ghosh Roy, Jhumpa and Ghose, Jhulan (2010): Telesupport Experiment for Agricultural Information Management in West Bengal, India.

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The article describes the experimentation of Change Initiatives, an Indian NGO of sub-regional scope, with the application of ICT in agricultural information management under the EU sponsored TeleSupport Project at Nadia district of West Bengal, India. During the project period an innovative mechanism of information management was experimented to facilitate two-way interaction between expert and client system with the involvement of local community. To sustain the two-way communication system two mobile and one fixed telecentre were established in the project area. The web resource created for sustaining the project hosted a large number of good practices, inspired numerous interactions among the stakeholders and facilitated diffusion of several agro-technologies. Large number of organizations and experts also joined the network. Within the project period, a considerable number of villagers including rural women and youth could be reached periodically with relevant agricultural information. Information related to crop management, livestock management, marketing etc. were professionally provided to the villagers. In spite of the initial success of the experimentation in terms of people’s participation and magnitude of information created and exchanged, the project could not achieve sustainability in the long run. Lack of e-readiness, lack of appropriate resource persons among the stakeholders, absence of any explicit incentive system within the organizational context, constraints of human resources and fund caused failure of the project. Despite of its failure it has been successful in empowering people, especially the Muslim women of the area. The information management system tried during the project may be tried in many rural communities of third world countries with necessary modifications.

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