Farmers’ Interaction with Researchers through Ham Radio Network in Tamil Nadu, India – An Analysis

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Rajendran, R
Balasubramanian, V
Rohini, A
Natarajan, K
Stalin, P
Samiayyan, K
Jayaraj, S Selvam T
Ramanathan, S
Chandrasekaran, B
Palaniappan, V
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
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PCF3 // Regular two-way flow of information and knowledge between researchers and farmers is important for continued and sustained agricultural development. Accordingly, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) jointly funded and supported the Tamil Nadu Rice Research Institute (TRRI) and the Soil and Water Management Research Institute (SWMRI) to use the HAM Radio and audio-cassette recording for radio broadcasts. // TRRI and SWMRI with IRRI develop the contents for interactive communication and provide technical support to farmers. COL provided the communication equipment, and helps develop open distance learning methods. The Centre for Ecological Research (an NGO) provides training to farmers and researchers in using HAM radio and maintains the equipment. // The HAM network interconnects TRRI and SWMRI with five villages. Daily one-hour interaction between farmers and researchers started from 2002. HAM villages use whiteboards to announce the salient points of discussion to their fellow farmers in the village. The topics of interest to farmers are those related to insect pests and diseases, rice-fallow crops and soil fertility and nutrient management. // Researchers recorded, edited, and disseminated useful conversations on HAM radio through public radio stations and local newspapers in Tamil Nadu and Pondichery to farming communities beyond the project area. HAM project enhanced the feed-forward and feedback communications between the farming and the scientific communities for their mutual benefit. Experience gained will help to effectively use information technology for agricultural development in remote areas.
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