Media Lab Asia(MLAsia) has taken up a project namely 'Mobile Based Agricultural Extension System in North-East India (m4agriNEI)' along with Central Agricultural University (CAU), Imphal. The major objective of M4Agri-NEI is to empower the farmers by providing right information on right time by implementing a Mobile Based Agricultural Extension System.
Initially the target is to cater around 5000 farmers from 50 villages in 3 districts of Meghalaya over a period of 2 years. The College of Post Graduate Studies (CPGS), Barapani of CAU is the prime agency for the implementation of the project in the identified fields at Meghalaya and will provide advisory services to the farmers.
North East region has exhibited most backwardness in most important indicators of human development such as income and health. The non-income poverty in terms of inadequate information on advanced farm technologies, market intelligence and rural development schemes produces the income poverty in the region. The limited technical manpower, lack of transport and communication facilities, limited financial support to the technology transfer and less infrastructure facility creates huge technological gap among rural tribal farming community. Further, difficult terrain, mountainous periphery and frequent natural disasters hinder the development of the region. Due to non-availability of improved technological information to the tribal farmers, agriculture exhibits low unstable productivity, which makes food insecurity problem and also poses serious developmental question to the policy makers.
The region also exhibits vast natural resource potential for the development. The current functional literacy rate and the presence of local institutions like “Tribal Village Council” will facilitate the development process. In this existing scenario, it is expected that application of ICTs in agricultural technologies provision to the tribal farming community of North–East India will helps to foster the socio economic empowerment of tribal farming community.