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Sunday, December 15, 2013

IASF wins in 4th eNorth East Challenge Award 2013

Certificate of Recognition under the category e-Livelihood and Enterprise

Intelligent Advisory System for Farmers (IASF),  a project of CDAC Mumbai in collaboration with Department of Agriculture Meghalaya, Manipur and Central Agricultural University, Imphal wins in 4th eNorth East Challenge Award 2013 under the category "Livelihood and Enterprise" at the Award Summit held on 13th December 2013 at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh.
The e-North East Award platform is created to scout, review, select, felicitate, award and nurture best practices in information communication technology for development and governance in North East India. The Award concept seeks to bring into focus practices in as many as 12 categories that have impacted development and governance processes for good. The Award platform has so far a repository of more than 200 best practices from the region.
The eNorth East Award Summit since 2010 (the first award summit launched in 2010) has established itself as a unique platform and a movement to contribute to the emerging ICT environment in the region.
The e-North East Award seeks to create an ecosystem of digital innovations and best practices in North East India by recognizing and celebrating practices that has contributed to desirable development and governance outcomes. The Award is given out in 12 key categories each year. For details you can visit The Award platform has been launched in 2010.

About e-North East Award Summit
The e-North East Award summit is an annual multi-stakeholder dialogue and consultative platform in the field of Information Communication Technology, Internet for Development and Governance in North East India. The thrust is on exchange of ideas, knowledge, and best practices, demonstrate examples and share experiences from mainstream India and from the region for better learning and replication in the region. It is being designed as a policy forum towards policy and programme declarations for further follow and action steps. It is a platform for Government-Industry-Civil Society and Academia stakeholders to enter into dialogue in deliberating on governance and development challenges in the region and exploring sustainable solutions through ICTs and information mediums.

About North East Digital Festival
The focus of the annual digital festival is on best ICT and digital practices for development including innovations and solutions that has been implemented in the region or has potentials to implement with desired results. The festival is an exhibition of such solutions that can facilitate overcome existing challenges in service delivery, e-infrastructure, content and services and networking with security. Exhibitors from the public, private, civil society and academic sector demonstrate their innovative deployment of solutions and practices.

Objectives of the 4the-North East Award Summit 2013

The key objectives of e-North East Award Summit includes:
    • Recognising best practices in ICT for development & governance in North East India;
    • Dialogue & networking on the scope, opportunities and challenges in ICT, Internet technology, Information broadcasting in Development and governance in the region;
    • Showcasing ICT / IT solutions, best practices and examples from the government, industry, civil society and academia – from national, regional and state levels;
    • Exploring areas of convergence, partnerships and agreements among stakeholders.
4theNorth East Award Summit 2013Programme Flow:

The One Day 4th-eNorth East Award Summit 2013is designed as follows:
    • 4the-North East Award Summit 2013 Congress (Inaugural Session)
    • Working Session I (2 Parallel Track sessions)
    • Working Session II (2 Parallel Track Sessions)
    •  Working Session III ( 2 Parallel Track Sessions)
    • 4the-North East Award 2013 Gala Evening
    • One full day North East Digital Festival (Exhibition & Showcasing of ICT solutions)
Plenary Areas
  • Connectivity & Access towards digital inclusion Governance & Public Service Delivery & ICTs Education, Human Resource Development& ICTs
  • Business &Enterprise Development & Livelihood Generation& ICTs
  • Digital Media, Community Broadcasting & Community Empowerment
  • NGOs & ICTs
  • Health Service Delivery & ICTs
  • Financial Inclusion & ICTs

  • Recognizing 33 finalists with best ICT practices in the region for 2013
  • Itanagar Declaration : an action based agenda to address challenges and explore scope towards sustainable ICT policy and programmes in NE
  • Consolidation of factors limiting ICTs and technology initiatives in NE
  • Consolidation of best possible solutions in ICT and technology for NE
  • Consolidate role and scope of stakeholders in ICTand technology in NE
  • Consolidate the need and role of community participation and involvement in ICT and technology for development initiatives
  • Consolidate scope in policy areas and suggest workable framework
  • Developing a partnership framework among stakeholders.
The 4the-North East Award Summit 2013  saw attendance of stakeholders and representatives from Ministry of DONER (India), Ministry of IT, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, State Departments, academia, corporate stakeholder, civil society and others. The Government of Arunachal Pradeshwill have its wholesome presence and participation through its key functionaries and key departments.

The 4the-North East Award Summit 2013 is organized by North East Development Foundation and Department of IT, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, & North East Information Communication Technology Association (NEICTA).

Co-organising Partners: Internet Society, Internet & Mobile Association of India, PIR, NIXI, Digital Empowerment Foundation, READ India, IGNOU, Sikkim Manipal University,
The Event was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh on 13th Dec 2013 at the Banquet Hall, Niti Vihar, Itanagar in the presence of Ministers, Chief Secretary of Arunachal Pradesh, top dignitaries and officials from DIT, Arunachal Pradesh. There were 2 parallel sessions during the day. The Award Ceremony was held on the same day in the evening where the winners in various categories were felicitated. This was followed by a gala dinner hosted by the CM including entertainment by different cultural troupe, singers and artists.

The event was hosted by the Department of IT, Arunachal Pradesh in collaboration with NEDF, Guwahati.

(Written by C.S.Shabong, Agriculture Development Officer(Info & IT) and State Co-ordinator, IASF Meghalaya)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Intelligent Advisory System for Farmers- A Quicker Solution to Farmer's Problems

- Canning S Shabong
Canning S Shabong, IASF Co-ordinator, Meghalaya and Ranjan Yengkhom, CDAC Mumbai giving a demo to farmers of East Khasi Hills district

Intelligent Advisory System for Farmers(IASF) is an advisory system for answering queries related to farming activities carried out in Northeastern states of India. The system can be extended with inclusion of any other crops from any State of India. The project covers five major farming activities (Insect Management, Disease Management, Weed Management, Rice Variety Selection and Fertilizer Management) which required expert’s advice relating to diagnostic and remedial measures.
IASF aims to improve and strengthen existing agriculture extension services by integrating Information Technology with mobile services. Sharing of knowledge among experts, farmers, students and research scholars are very important to the growth of the agriculture sector. The farmers’ queries are stored in a database along with its relevant solution (called CASE) in database. A farmer can ask a question related to the above mentioned farming activities supported by IASF and the system automatically produces a highly probable solution from a large database containing collection of queries and expert opinion given by a team of agriculture experts and subject matter specialist. IASF is also a self learning system that acquires new problems and corresponding solutions. The system can help farmer in critical times where access to an agricultural expert is not forthcoming or due to unavailability of agriculture extension worker in the field. The system is specially useful in States and rural areas where the ratio of extension worker to farmer is very wide.
This system networks registered agricultural experts from various agricultural domain like Plant Protection, Horticulture, Agriculture Extension, Marketing, Agronomy, Soil Science, Seed Technology etc. from the Department of Agriculture, Government of Manipur; Department of Agriculture, Government of Meghalaya; Central Agriculture University (CAU), Imphal; Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs) of Meghalaya in playing an active role as contributor and knowledge engineers for building the knowledge component of the advisory  systems.
The main objectives of IASF are:
  • Provide improved services to the farming community through the use of ICT.
  • Advice and help farmers to solve problems related to their farming activities. Otherwise, they need to contact agricultural experts and private extension workers.
  • Providing vital and generic information to farmers so that they get periodic alerts on important/useful tips, ideas, knowhow etc.
  • Updates farmers on latest technology in Agriculture sector for improved productivity and quality farming.
  • Developing an advisory system which can be extended with any other types of crops in any State of India.
  • Improving agricultural extension service by using mobile services so that farmers can send queries about their farming problem from their mobile device.
  • To develop an educational materials to be used by students for their practical experience with real case scenario.
 Beneficiary of the Project:
  • FARMER:Farmers from North East Region of India mainly farmers from Manipur and Meghalaya: Farmers can get direct or indirect advice from agricultural experts for his/her query related to their farming activities covered by IASF. Farmers can also communicate their problems with agricultural experts by sending an SMS text message in a predefined format.
  • AGRICULTURAL EXPERT: Experts can advise to farmers’ query from anywhere using Internet or mobile SMS. Experts can also share knowledge among themselves by suggesting to other expert's advice given to farmers.
  • DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE(DOA): DOA can broadcast periodic alerts and useful information to registered users via mobile SMS and email. Department of Agriculture can use IASF as a tool to train new officers and extension functionaries.
  • STUDENT: One of major objective of IASF is developing educational materials to be used by students of agriculture for their practical experience with real scenario.
  • RESEARCH SCHOLAR: research scholars will be able to study diversity in farmers’ problem across north east region of India and how agricultural experts are suggesting remedial measures on various field problems.
Presently, IASF is benefiting 1886 registered farmers in 6 districts of Meghalaya and 9 districts of Manipur who uses the platform for redressal of their farm problems. 50 Subject Matter Specialist are also registered in the portal to respond to farmer's queries in real time. An agriculture expert can reply to any query from his/her registered mobile phone via SMS by sending his reply to 51969. Farmer/Student can also register themselves to the IASF portal via SMS by sending their name, address in a specified fomat to 51969. The project can be easily scaled and rolled out with localised content and languages. This is the first of its kind project in North East India, where ICT has come to the rescue of resource poor farmers residing in remote and inaccessible part of the country. The integration of web technology and mobile service delivery gateway has been a boon to this project, where the reach and scale of the project can have a multiplier effect on the agriculture scenario of geographically remote and inaccessible rural areas of India.
To know more about this project, please visit this link

(The writer is currently working in the Department of Agriculture Meghalaya as Agriculture Development Officer (Info& IT) and also functions as the State Co-ordinator of IASF Project, Meghalaya)