Dr Arame Tall (Ms) working with ICRISAT Bamako on climate information services funded †by CCAFS via IRI, Colombia has visited ICRISAT, Head Office, Patancheru on Friday 22nd June, 2012. She was in India, mainly to review information service projects. She has visited VASAT lab of Knowledge Sharing and Innovation Unit, ICRISAT, where Dr Yaduraju and team demonstrated the Agropedia Knowledge repository and Voice-Krishi Vigyan Kendra. The Agropedia is the first Indian agricultural knowledge repository developed with knowledge-models for localized content for a variety of users with appropriate interfaces built in collaborative mode to support information access in multiple languages. Agropedia aspires to organize and manage the widespread knowledge relevant to different agricultural practices of different regions by building up an agricultural e-community and strengthening the networks of that community.
The vKVK (virtual KVK) platform developed by the IIT Kanpur was used to send the advisories over the farmersí mobile phones. Initially, the advisories were sent as text messages, but later the technology was improved to send voice messages. Hence, vKVK is also referred to as Voice-KVK. The KVK scientists developed relevant and crop specific advisories in local language. The voice-KVK has three facilities to communicate: 1) Expert to farmer 2) Farmer to expert and 3) Expert to expert. The Expert to farmer (E2F) system allows the extension officer to create and send voice based advisory from vKVK portal to the farmersí mobile phone at free of cost. Looking over the success of vKVK, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research is going to upscale the service to the whole country in the 12th FYP, which is presently being pilot, tested in 30 districts of UP, Uttarakhand, AP and Karnataka covering more than 20,000 farmers.
Dr Arame appreciated the Agropedia portal and vKVK and showed keen interest to develop knowledge repository and to use mobile phone for agricultural information dissemination in Africa.