4.3.9
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FLOW: AN ASIAN PERSPECTIVE

MP SRIVASTAVA

Department of Plant Pathology, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar-125 004, India

Background and objectives
Plant diseases account for considerable losses in agricultural production. Though effective management technologies have been developed for many diseases, many of them have not yet reached farmers. Until and unless these technologies are transferred into farmers' fields, losses cannot be prevented [1]. In order to feed the ever-increasing population in Asia, it is desirable to prevent crops from becoming ravaged by diseases by the transfer of well-proven, viable, practically feasible and socially acceptable technologies through a well planned and properly conceived system for the flow of information technology.

Materials and methods
Training, demonstration, campaigns, field days and the use of print and electronic media form the basic tools of technology flow. During training, emphasis was laid on disease diagnosis and remedial measures. Demonstrations were arranged to have an impact on the minds of users, to validate the saying 'seeing is believing'. Seed treatments and safe use of fungicides were the major focuses. Field days formed a focal point for dissemination of technology. Printed literature included leaflets, question-answer series, and the publications Plant Disease Protectionist, Plant Disease Warning and Plant Pathology Courier. Plant Disease Protectionist was brought out in Hindi to provide information on some of the important diseases which are likely to appear in the following month, while Plant Disease Warning was issued anticipating disease outbreaks. Plant Pathology Courier was aimed at updating the existing knowledge of extension workers. Electronic media were used to flash information on outbreaks of important diseases, in addition to acquainting growers with major crop diseases and their control.

Results and conclusions
Training formed the initial point in the technology flow. The results indicated that training could be effective if it had a uniform clientele. While the emphasis was more on diagnosis, the need was also felt for the creation of plant clinics or polyclinics [2]. Demonstrations had a positive impact, and field days made a lasting impression on growers as the host farmer himself revealed the package of technology adopted. Seed-treatment campaigns helped in popularizing the practice amongst 80% of the farmers. Plant Disease Protectionist and Plant Pathology Courier helped immensely in educating farmers and field functionaries. Plant Disease Warning helped in averting or minimizing the consequences of disease outbreaks. Radio and television had their own advantages. Satellite-based transmission in collaboration with ISRO, though used only once, had a tremendous impact. However, with the advent now of many satellite channels, these may be suitably employed though their viewership is limited, in contrast to government-owned channels. The information flow from researchers to farmers can be profitably employed in protecting crops from the onslaught of diseases and augmenting agicultural production, thereby ensuring food security to a burgeoning population.

References
1. Srivastava MP, 1995. Proceedings of a Global Conference, 12-17 February 1995, Udaipur, India, p.198.
2. Srivastava MP, 1997. Proceedings of an International Conference on Integrated Plant Disease Managment for Sustainable Agriculture, November 10-15 1997, IARI, New Delhi.