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September 23, 1997


Internet comes to Karnataka farmers' rescue

Karnataka's new agriculture policy has made provisions for a state-of-the-art information system . The system will enable easy access to global, national and local markets for farmers, Minister of Agriculture Byre Gowda has said.

Inaugurating a seminar on Global Retrieval of Agriculture on Internet (GRAIN) organised by Karnataka Agro Industries Corporation (KAIC) and USAID, Gowda said information on markets, prices, production, crop pattern, requirements of crops in different places, and buyers will be now available over the Internet for farmers.

Calling this the second 'Green Revolution', Gowda said the Internet facility would enable higher productivity. He further said that the state government would offer incentives to set up food processing units in the northern part of the state, which will be developed as Growth Centres of Agri-business.

The Internet facility called GRAIN Centre will be located in the city at Farmer's Stop, a supermarket for farmers, established by KAIC to provide a single-window service for farmers, entrepreneurs and exporters.

The Farmer's Stop being organised by KAIC will house technology, machinery and tools, seeds and tissue culture products. The fair with over 70 stalls will be inaugurated on October 15 in the city.

Sanjoy Das Gupta, managing director of KAIC, said USAID had selected KAIC as the thrust area in South India to develop this facility.

The centre, the only one in the south, will act as a support system to locate agri-business information on Web sites across the country and globe, he stated.

The centre will also be a subscriber for databases related to trade on CDROMs in the United States and Europe. He said farmers can access this information through the centre as CDROMs costing Rs 5,000 each may not be affordable by farmers.

Thirty-two subscribers at present are from the South Indian Floriculture Association, he said.

The system will allow an access time of 30,000 hours at Rs 7,000 for large users. The cost elsewhere is around Rs 50,000 for 25,000 hours. This is a cost effective Internet system for farmers and agri-business entrepreneurs.

The GRAIN centre will provide facilities like importer credit and reference checks, customised client information requests and market product surveys. The system with 64 kilobytes will provide a connection of 100 lines making it easier for subscribers to access THE Internet, Gupta said.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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