ICT for agriculture and risk management in India

on Friday, 10 August 2012 16:00. Posted in News from the region

Farmers' exposure to risk and uncertainty is often aggravated by lack of information about weather, inputs, farm management practices or market prices, and this lack of information has an adverse impact on crop production and income. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) just published a scoping study on Modern ICT for Agricultural Development and Risk Management in Smallholder Agriculture in India whose main objectives are:

1) analyze the scope and potential of the use of ICT, especially mobile phones, for farmers and the agricultural sector
2) identify farmers’ present sources of information and information networks, and to identify the information needs that help them to mitigate production and market risks
3) identify existing ICT-based innovations in the agricultural sector, the key players, and the institutional arrangements for the dissemination of information
4) highlight selected models and innovations in the form of case studies
5) identify the constraints and challenges and suggest key questions that should be taken up for research based on this scoping study

Evidence suggests that among modern ICTs, mobile telephony has been the most recent and widely-accepted mode of delivering information, not only in India but also in other South Asian and African countries. Increasing mobile phone-based services enhances the availability of content-specific information and helps to improve awareness, education, adoption of technology, reduced transaction costs, market efficiency and climate-linked risk management. These in turn catalyze rural-sector development and economic growth.

The study was funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

See the full report here

CIMMYT is an international not-for-profit research and training organization. With partners in over 100 countries, the center works to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat systems to ensure global food security and reduce poverty.


on Saturday, 04 August 2012 05:07. Posted in News from the region

The Indian media recently reported about their Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s (MOCIT) decision to “waive” the spectrum fee hike for community radio stations in the country. The Asia-Pacific Board of World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), however, hopes that the Government will consider a roll back of the entire amount as this will substantially enhance the sustainability of the sector.

As a global network committed to media democratization and strengthening the voices of the excluded through community radio, AMARC underscores the importance of the Principles of Broadcasting Diversity as articulated by the UN Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression: Community broadcasting should be explicitly recognized in law as a distinct form of broadcasting (and) should benefit from fair and simple licensing procedures…(and) should benefit from concessionary license fees…”.

AMARC congratulates the entire community radio sector in India for their concerted efforts to reverse the hike. While it is not, as yet, clear if the roll back implies a complete waiver or a roll back to the earlier amount of Rs 19,700/- , an official announcement is expected shortly to clarify the decision.

For more information, visit AMARC Asia-Pacific or contact the regional coordinator at suman_basnet@asiapacific.amarc.org.


on Saturday, 28 July 2012 16:00. Posted in Opportunities

The Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF) Asia program is accepting applications for grants and awards in line with its mission to help advance local and regional projects aimed at introducing, improving, and applying Internet technology for the benefit of Asia-Pacific users and communities.

For ISIF grants, financial support of up to AUD 30,000 is given to Asia Pacific initiatives via a competitive process. Project proposals should have innovation and development as an integral part, and be aligned with the current funding categories that include: innovation on access provision, innovation on learning and localization, code for the common good, rights. For detailed information, please check ISIF Asia grants page.

The ISIF awards, on the other hand, seek to acknowledge the important contributions ICT innovators have made with creative solutions to the social and economic development of the Asia Pacific region. Financial support for up to AUD 3,000 is allocated also via a competitive process. In addition to selecting a winner per category, there will be a Community Choice Award category for the best social media campaign (the project with the highest number of votes from the community). Find out more on the awards here.

Deadline for applications is 10 August 2012.

The Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF) is a grants and awards program aimed at stimulating creative solutions to ICT development needs in the Asia Pacific region, placing particular emphasis on the role of the Internet in social and economic development.



Empowering women community broadcasters of Nepal

on Thursday, 26 July 2012 17:09. Posted in News from the region

The Asia Pacific board of AMARC has successfully implemented an integrated program for strengthening production and networking capacity of women community broadcasters in Nepal. It covered women broadcasters from 50 community radio stations.

pkr_amarctrainingThe program was launched in August 2011 in partnership with Association of Community Radio Broadcasters of Nepal (ACORAB). It consisted of capacity building workshops, individual mentoring for the participants, exposure to AMARC's global broadcasting campaigns, opportunities for participation in regional workshops, and strategising for network building. Through gender sensitive programming, giving voice to women of the community, and to the civil society and human rights organisations, the program has made significant contribution towards empowering radio audiences, especially women audiences and in promoting media plurality.

A follow up training workshop and networking meeting was held in Pokhara from 10-11 July 2012 as a concluding activity of the program.

The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) is an international NGO serving the community radio movement in over 110 countries, and advocating for the right to communicate at the international, national, local and neighborhood levels. AMARC has an International Secretariat in Montreal and regional sections in Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific.

For more information visit AMARC Asia Pacific or contact the regional coordinator at suman_basnet@asiapacific.amarc.org.