IT and technology could help small and marginal farmers, says Prof. Robert A. Easter

New Delhi 06 Oct, 2010

Prof. Robert A. EasterThe Chancellor and Provost (Interim) of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Professor Robert A. Easter said that IT and technology could help small and marginal farmers in marketing, pricing, water management, irrigation and managing the logistics of the food supply chain, including storage and post-harvest preservation techniques.

Professor Easter delivered a lecture on The Role of Information Technology in Agriculture and shared views with senior officials of the Council. Meeting was attended by the Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE and Director General, ICAR and senior officials.

The University of Illinois plans to collaborate with the ICAR in the areas of animal husbandry, food technology and agricultural engineering, among others.
Animal husbandry, product agriculture, food technology, agriculture engineering, IT, agribusiness, agri-finance, agri-marketing and biotechnology, are the broad areas for partnership and two-way areas of learning, Professor Easter said.

Professor Robert A. Easter highlighted the major issues such as increasing urbanisation, climate change and demand for bio-fuel as an alternate source of energy. One third of food grain is wasted due to lack of proper information on time, he further added, IT can be used in agriculture to facilitate water management, logistics in the supply chain and help the farmers in the pricing and marketing the produce.

Dr. Easter said that the areas identified by the U.S. side for collaboration with the ICAR are in animal husbandry, product agriculture, food technology, agriculture engineering, IT, agribusiness, agri-finance, agri-marketing and biotechnology.

University of Illinois has developed technologies that have helped preventing moulding of grain in silos, Professor further said, that is something we could share with India.

(anil [dot] cproatgmail [dot] com)