ICT for Promotion of Tribal Farmers and Food Security: An Anthropological Study in Koraput District of Odisha
Since last few decades, the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has advocated for an integrated rural/tribal development through it’s uses and applications in finding markets and price negotiation, obtaining and distributing information on assets, prices, consumption trend and inventions and expanding educational opportunities. In the tribal areas of India, several programmes like Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE), ITES for governance, District Information System (DISNIC), NICNET and Computerised Rural Information System Project (CRISPs) are implemented for agricultural development. Based on these aspirations, the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), a civil society organization started Village Knowledge Centres (VKCs), Village Resource Centres (VRCs) and Farm Field Schools in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to empower the tribal farmers, especially women farmers in Koraput district of Odisha since 1992. The present paper is a critical anthropological evaluation study in the programme implemented villages to sort out two major objectives related to role of ICT in empowering tribal farmers and to achieve food security. Firstly, to evaluate the role of VKCs as centre of information and discussion relating to important government initiated programmes like NRHM, National Horticulture Mission and National Food Security Mission. To evaluate the effectiveness of audio-video conference programmes provided to the VRCs for communication. Secondly, to evaluate the role of knowledge empowerment programmes; lab-to-land, land-to-lab, land-to-land and lab-to-lab for skill development in agriculture. Finally, this paper argues for an ICT approach of development model for the integrated development and empowerment of the tribal women in India.
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