New device seen as a breakthrough in providing information to farmers

Agri info through e-books on finger touch
New device seen as a breakthrough in providing information to farmers
Author / Source : Faisal Rahman

DHAKA, DEC 8: Farmers, who are not oriented with the operation of desktop computers, will now be happy knowing that they would be able to read e-books on finger touch on the screen of a new machine developed by Agricultural Information Services (AIS). Even farmers, who are not literate, can receive information through the e-books using the machine as  such books contain different multimedia like recitation of the chapters in audio format and video footages of short plays that will open on a finger touch on the designated icons on the screen, said officials.

Badal Sarker, designer of the machine, told The Independent that the machine named “Information on Finger Touch” was built to provide all sorts of agricultural information to farmers through one booth in the easiest way possible.

“Observing functions of card readers at the booths of different banks, I was convinced that similar devices could be developed for simplifying the process of information dissemination to farmers”, he said.

After conceiving the idea, Badal consulted the companies that provide card reader machines to banks, but the cost they projected for the machine was very high – at least Tk 7.5 lakh per machine.

“At one stage, I shared the idea with the director of AIS and requested him to provide me support for developing the machine by ourselves”, Badal added.

“With the green signal, I and other officials of AIS started developing the software and the layout needed to run the machine which is a combination of different hardware such as a 22-inch touch screen monitor and a high configuration computer system.”

“All the software were developed in-house, while some hardware parts imported from abroad. At the end, the device costs about three lakh taka”, he said.

“We have already demonstrated the function of the machine to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the e-Asia Conference, held recently in Dhaka. The agriculture secretary CQK Mustak Ahmed also came to our office to see the machine. Both of them appreciated our work”, said Nazrul Islam, director of AIS.

“Right now we are conducting an assessment study whether we could install the machine to each of the 95 Agricultural Information and Communication Centres (AICC) across the country so that farmers can receive the information they need directly on their own finger touch, rather than depending on a mediator”, Nazrul said.

The AIS has already created 12 e-books on the cultivation of different cropsincluding rice, wheat and tomato, he added.

The books were created incorporating features such as animation, steel and video images and audio speech keeping in mind the educational level of the farmers, he pointed out.


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