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Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges

ICT applications are diverse, and their suitability varies based on the context of their use and the type of application used. But sticking to the broad concept of ICTs for EAS, Table 2 gives a general and overall idea of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges in EAS.

Table 2. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges





Better access to services  Success depends on human commitment  Continuous improvement of ICT infrastructure  Creating farmer-specific and relevant content 
Cost-effective  Lack of personal touch  Penetration of high-end mobile phones  Language barriers
Timely Needs ICT skill and competency  Reducing cost of ICT infrastructure and services  Low literacy of rural farmers 
Anytime, anywhere  Lack of institutional ICT policy  Multiple players in EAS services provision using ICTs  Imparting ICT skills to EAS stakeholders
Supplement the role of extensionists  Long-term sustainability depends on funding, champions and other factors    Duplication and contradictory information flow

Better research–extension– client system linkages 





Best-fit considerations

Target groups: The suitability of the wide range of services that can be provided through ICTs depends on the target group. ICTs like TV, radio, video, tele/video conferences, and voice-based mobile advisory services are accessible to all, irrespective of literacy level or technological skills, whereas applications like web portals, expert systems, decision-support systems, text-based mobile advisory services, e-learning platforms, and social media are more useful for literate farmers with basic technical skills. Community radio provides a very good platform for women farmers to voice their opinions.

Functions: Awareness creation and technology transfer are the most important functions of TV, radio, videos, and community radio; advisory and market information are the most important functions of mobile-based advisory services; advisory and technology transfer are principle functions of expert systems, decision-support systems, and interactive multimedia CDs; web portals provide unique opportunities for information sharing and linking with other stakeholders of AIS. E-learning  platforms are mostly for educational purposes; and social media integrates all functions of advisory, knowledge sharing, awareness creation, linking with AIS actors, and technology transfer (see Table 3).

GFRAS GGP Note11 table3s

Table 3. Appropriateness of types of ICTs to achieve various EAS functions (Clickto enlarge)