Monday, September 28, 2015

IRRI donates communication lab for disseminating rice technologies in Tamil Nadu

An Information and Communications Technology (ICT) laboratory for disseminating new rice production technologies was officially opened at the Soil and Water Management Research Institute (SWMRI) in Kattuthottam, Thanjavur District in Tamil Nadu on 15 September.

“The lab will hopefully be of good use to students and farmers,” said Dr. Noel Magor, head of the Impact Acceleration Unit and Training Center during its inauguration. “The lab can also be used as an e-extension and training facility to effectively roll out technologies. Videos can be shown here for training, the latest apps and tools can be accessed—the possibilities are endless.”

V. Ravi, director of the Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute; R. Rajendran, head of the Coconut Research Station; and Dr. S. Porpavai, head of SWMRI; as well as SWMRI students attended the event.

The new ICT lab was constructed with the help of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) through the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agriculture Research. Dr. Ravi thanked IRRI for its generous support while Dr. Rajendran was grateful for IRRI's its support for "the youth in agriculture." 

The use of ICT tools for agricultural extension is one of the most cost-effective means of delivering technologies. The state of Tamil Nadu has been one of the forerunners in carrying out innovative information technology-based extension services, mainly through the Agritech portal of theTamil Nadu Agriculture University and the Agrisnet portal of the Department of Agriculture, Government of TamilNadu.

Established in 1972 under the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, SWMRI is one of the centers of the university that started some research on standardizing irrigation techniques for several field crops with special emphasis on rice. Apart from core research programs, SWMRI also runs a two-year diploma course in agriculture with an intake of over 40 students per year, 50% of which are girls. SWMRI also directly trains over 2,000 farmers every year and is also involved with NGOs and other organizations in disseminating technologies.

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