LAHORE:Punjab Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha on Monday said that Connected Agriculture Platform Punjab Programme was all about digitizing the small/landless farmer community to make them well connected, aware, and well controlled farming workflow.
She said this after inaugurating the programme at a local hotel on Monday.The Punjab government was striving hard, in accordance with the vision of Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif to make agriculture sector modernized and equipped with latest technology in the interest of farming community, she added.
She said that under this scheme, during initial stage 110,000 smart phones would be distributed among registered farmers of Kissan package and during next stage all registered farmers would get smart phones which would be equipped with special apps that would help farmers to interact with agriculture experts for seeking guidance regarding improvement of crops, getting information about weather conditions and would be able to see videos about latest production technology of crops.
A first of its kind program in the Asia-Pacific region, Connected Agriculture Platform Punjab Programme was launched for the benefit of farming community, she added.
Punjab Agriculture Secretary Muhammad Mahmood said that this phase of the scheme was designed because a lack of a systematic and efficient way to educate/inform the farmers was observed. A man-based, slow flow of information was the norm, resulting in farmers making not proper decisions based on poor information which was leading to financial losses, he added.
He said the Punjab department of Agriculture, in collaboration with Telenor and PITB (Punjab Information Technology Board) had developed a carefully crafted mobile apps services, keeping its unique target audience in mind, to enable technology to rapidly assist and cater to farmer needs.
The Secretary said that it would create a technology-driven echo system that would give confidence to the farmers deciding what to sow, when and where to sell, adding that applications in the phones would also help farmers to receive alerts about weather conditions, crop diseases and protection and timely use of fertilizers and pesticides.
He said the Agriculture department would also establish "Facilitation Centers" in collaboration with Telenor Pakistan where farmers would be trained regarding its efficient usage of Agri apps, adding that Agriculture department was planning to provide this technology to the farming community so they be able to enter in the new world of information.
Small farmers would benefit from this initiative in a big way as the smartphones would display agriculture related information to them within no time, he added. APP/AFP