Are farmers adapting to modern agriculture technology?

Are farmers adapting to modern agriculture technology?

Economy
11 October 2019, 16:56 76
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will present a new platform for risk management of agriculture in Azerbaijan, Trend reports referring to IFC chief specialist Leyla Huseynli. Huseynli said that the new CLARA (Cash-flow linked Agriculture Risk Assessment tool) platform covers 40 products. Each of them represents a certain risk management mechanism in the field of agriculture in accordance with the realities of Azerbaijan. CLARA is a new online service designed to quickly and efficiently assess production risks in agriculture. The service helps to make predictive calculations for farms based on technological maps for the manufacture of various agricultural products. Technological maps containing the necessary information and instructions for the manufacture of various agricultural products will be stored in the service database.
 
These steps taken in the agricultural sector are highly commendable. But, can farmers adapt to the demands of the modern-day and information technologies? Have any measures been taken to educate farmers in this direction?
 
Spokesperson of Azerbaijan's Ministry of Agriculture Vugar Huseynov said that all services in the agrarian sector are already electronic. "The transformation of the state agrarian development centers into service structures, the introduction of the Electronic Agriculture Information System (EAIS), and as of 2020, the issuance of agrarian subsidies through this system, also places responsibility on farmers. The speed of this process depends on how much knowledge farmers have about modern information technology,” he said.
 
Huseynov noted that electronic services have been simplified to the maximum. "People who are able to use smartphones, tablets and desktop computers can easily register with the EAIS system. During the EAIS registration period, our observations revealed that most farmers have no trouble using modern information technologies. Modern farmers are social network users, users of a variety of mobile applications, and are one of the key players in e-commerce. There are even farmers who are vloggers and regularly make live broadcasts on social networks. It can be said with certainty that the farmer's image has changed. Of course, the Ministry of Agriculture is interested in raising farmers' IT skills, so our training program, which has been going on for a year, has included this direction. Farmers are involved in various training programs that are conducted using modern-day electronic presentations. Farmers can also acquire theoretical knowledge on how to use e-services from the state agrarian development centers which provide consulting services,” the spokesperson added.
 
According to agricultural expert Nijat Nasirli, managing a farm without IT skills is a difficult task. "In total, we have 1 million 300,000 agricultural producers in the country. Frankly, the subject you have brought up is one of our weakest points. We have to admit that this is not just the case in Azerbaijan. Across the globe, farmers' access to information technologies is weak. Of course, there are objective and subjective reasons to this. The main reason for the farmers operating in the region is, in many cases, the weak IT infrastructure in the area. In addition, the existence of traditional practices also complicates this issue. But at the same time, we must recognize that managing a farm without the use of IT skills is a difficult task today. Speaking about the situation in our country, we should note that in 2020, an electronic agriculture system will be launched. The distinctive feature of this system is that each farmer will have their own private profile and will be able to run their business through this profile. This itself is a skill. The Ministry of Agriculture is conducting training on acquiring these skills. One of the main problems is that most farmers are over the age 50, while the IT field is rather new. Of course, people over the age of 50 use mobile phones, but mainly to communicate. They sometimes face problems when trying access the internet, and manage their own profiles. Without a doubt, this hinders their economic activities. On another note, farmers themselves should be interested in learning. The state allocates considerable amounts of money to this area, but it is difficult to achieve results unless the farmer is willing to change,” he said.
 
Agricultural expert Qadir Bayramli said that it is possible to manage the irrigation system of sown areas through a small mobile phone. "The use of new electronic devices remains a challenge in the agricultural sector. With a few exceptions, the vast majority of farmers do not use internet resources. I think this is a very important issue. Because it is impossible to imagine modern agriculture without modern technology. If we want to achieve results in this area, we need to provide IT training, especially in the regions, and carry out some educational work. Once farmers see the benefits of technology, farming will be more enjoyable for them and they will be even more motivated. Just imagine controlling the irrigation system through a small mobile phone. If all this is shown to farmers visually, this will evoke interest in IT and learning new skills,” the expert said.
 
Gunel Azade