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Philosophy and principles

ICTs can enable information and knowledge access and sharing among AIS actors, thus complementing conventional extension advisory methods depending on the situation and target group. The guiding principles (1,2,3)
1 Saravanan, R. (ed.) 2010. ICTs for agricultural extension: Global experiments, innovations and experiences. New Delhi, India: New India Publishing Agency (NIPA).

 Saravanan, R. 2013. e-Agriculture prototype for knowledge facilitation among tribal farmers of North-East India: Innovations, impact and lessons. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension. 19 (2): 113–131. 

 World Bank. 2011. ICT in agriculture: Connecting small holders to knowledge, networks, and institutions. e-Source Book. Report no. 64605. Washington, DC, USA: The World Bank.
of ICTs for better extension and advisory services (EAS) are:
  • Relevant content: Contextualised or farmer-specific, needs-based, timely, and quality content are the major aims of ICT-based extension and advisory services. ICTs are a tool and only help to share content; they do not generate content. 
  • Appropriate tools: Among a variety of ICTs, choose the formats, channels, tools, devices, and applications that best match the purpose, content, and clientele. 
  • Integration of methods, actors, and services: Integrating ICTs with other conventional extension methods (like farmer field schools, participatory extension, and demonstrations) and pluralistic actors (public, private and farmer-based organisations) along the value chain will create synergy in EAS. 
  • Information PLUS: To convince the clientele, show and tell. ICT-based information alone is not enough and needs to be combined with field demonstrations, exposure visits, group discussions, and other conventional methods. Not just advisory information, but a complete resource package across the agricultural value chain (4)
    4 Saravanan, R. 2011. e-Arik: Using ICTs to facilitate “climate-smart agriculture” among tribal farmers of North-East India. ICTs and Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change Case Study. Manchester, UK: Centre for Development Informatics, University of Manchester.
    needs to be provided. 
  • Human element: Development of ICT ‘champions’ to create a legacy of promoting continuous leaders and followers is important for continued commitment of the extension stakeholders to use ICTs. 
  • Complementarity to EAS: ICTs can play only  complementary role in extension. If used appropriately, they create synergy and better impact when combined with conventional extension efforts. 
  • Institutionalising ICTs: Institutional policy and guidelines for use, development of ICT literacy, ensuring competency of staff, and infrastructure development should be integral parts of the institutional set-up for use of ICTs. 
  • Long-term and continuous engagement with ICTs: To get better outcomes, ICTs need to be integrated with conventional extension approaches for a reasonably (at least five years) long period.