For some, it’s something they are used to. But for others it’s a new experience. They carefully touch the icons on the smart phone with tentative fingers and say “Puthalata, duvalata nang meva pulavan” (Our sons and daughters can easily do this) The group of farmers who gathered last week in Dambulla came from different areas in the Matale and Anuradhapura districts. Some had travelled long distances. They were a diverse group – ranging in age from twenties to fifties.
LIRNEasia researchers were in the field last week talking to vegetable farmers in Chilaw, Gampaha and Kurunegala. The discussions which took part in varying locations, are part of the LIRNEasia’s ongoing research for its ‘Inclusive information societies’ project. The project aims to assess the impact of opening up government data and making crop advisory information available to farmers through a mobile application. Initially the app will target farmers who grow cucurbits for export. Research work for the project is now underway.
The ICT arm of Sri Lanka’s largest community-based organization, Sarvodaya, launched its FarmerNet initiative last month. They have been kind enough to mention that the initiative had been triggered by a LIRNEasia presentation at a National Telecenter Alliance event. As an organization committed to catalysis, we are gratified. And we wish them well. The premise of the initiative is to create an efficient marketplace, using information technology to reduce transaction costs.