Assessing the Extent of ICT Usage by Farmers for Sustainable Agriculture in Sub-Himalayan Region

C. Vara Prasad and K. Pradhan

Abstract


Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can be a key enabler and a vital component of the new
knowledge-based economy and is capable of revolutionizing the process of information dissemination and
knowledge management. The present study attempts to assess the extent of ICT usage by farmers for sustainable
agricultural development and restoring social sustainability. It was conducted in two northern districts of
West Bengal under Sub Himalayan Region namely Cooch Behar and Alipurduar districts. One hundred and
twenty farmers were interviewed through a pre-tested structured interview schedule developed to measure the
level of ICT tools usage and complementarities between various ICT tools used by the farmers. The variables
age, education, experience, social participation, aspiration towards cutting edge technology, annual income,
annual expenditure, smart gadgets possessing, sources of agricultural information, achievement motivation,
innovativeness, economic motivation, scientific orientation, risk preference, orientation towards ICTs, information
management orientation were considered as predictor variables and the variable extent of ICT usage of the farmers
was considered as the predicted variable for the study. The data were processed with the help of statistical tools like
frequency, percentage, mean, standard deviation, Pearson’s coefficient of correlation and weighted mean scores.
The results of farmers show that the variables age (X1), experience (X4) and family size (X5) are negatively and
significantly associated with the dependent variable ‘extent of ICT usage’. The variables education (X2), smart
gadgets possession (X11), innovativeness (X14) and risk preference (X17) are positively and significantly associated
with the level of use of ICTs. The result of the weighted mean score (WMS) analysis, on the extent of ICT usage by
farmers in the study area have showed that they use mobile phones (m=4), TV/LCD (m=3.4), internet (m=1.71),
email (m=1.39), radio (0.22), computer (m=0.15) in a greater extent

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