PTA workshop on What Can Telecommunications Do for Agriculture
Islamabad (July 4, 2012) – Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman Dr Mohammed Yaseen has said that agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy, as it accounts for 21 percent of national income, employs 45 percent of the country’s total workforce and provides livelihood to 60 percent of our rural community.
He stated this while speaking at a workshop “What Can Telecommunications Do for Agriculture” organised by PTA in collaboration with LIRNEasia, a regional ICT Policy Think Tank, based in Sri Lanka with the purpose to share international experiences and research with Pakistan, and to learn from successful telecom-agriculture models and improving agriculture productivity through increased usage of ICT, says a press release issued here on Wednesday.
Yaseen said that farmer’s access to relevant information and adoption of ICT and telecom value-added services by rural community could bring revolution in the agriculture production.
“Similarly, Pakistan telecom sector is considered as an exemplary growth model around the globe and our agriculture sector can also be a model by adopting telecom and getting its benefits,” he added. The Chairman said that after success in e-commerce and branchless banking initiatives, PTA is now encouraging the development of local content based mobile/ICT applications and willing to extend all sort of support to help the farmers through the provision of reliable and timely information, local content based applications, automation of agriculture production processes using specialised applications of mobile phones and ICT. Dr Rohan Samarjiva, CEO & Chair LIRNEasia, presented a research carried out by the organisation on the subject, ‘How the underprivileged make use of ICTs and findings from worldwide studies of Teleuse at the bottom of the pyramid.’
He recommended that mobiles were the pre-eminent communication technology among the poor, smallholders and those who interacted with them, adding that more mobile-based applications were needed for better diffusion of telecom in agriculture.
Dr Kevin Callagher, representative of Food and Agriculture (FAO) of the UN stressed on the need for ICT access for emergency and disaster management, use of interactive media, automated data collection and an “out-of-box” approach for telecom usage in Agriculture sector. It is pertinent to mention here that the workshop provided a platform for organisations working in agriculture sector to discuss in detail, the ways and means of generating benefits for agriculture by using telecommunication.