“This [E-Village] is already a groundbreaking innovation in the agriculture sector of Bangladesh. A farmer would have all the data he needs from his smartphone right after he wakes up in the morning. This was almost unthinkable until now. It’s amazing how far Bangladesh has progressed. This is Digital Bangladesh,” told by Honorable MP Mr Jahid Ahsan Russel on the demonstration session of E-Village project, held at the Virtual Classroom inside the Central Lab building on the BSMRAU campus, on 3rd April 2017.
History says there used to occur famines in Bangladesh and many people and children died because they didn’t get enough food to eat. Yes, there was a time when farmers couldn’t produce enough food for every person in Bangladesh. There was severe crop failure due to the attack of insects, diseases, natural calamities and most importantly the lack of appropriate farming knowledge.
But things have been changed from then to now. Today, not a single person in our country dies because of hunger. Because the present government has sustained the food security and fulfilled all requirements of farmers to produce the sufficient amount of crops. But still, we have to go a long way to be ranked as a potential food producer on the global ranking system.
Despite agriculture being a major contributor to gross domestic income, in Bangladesh, our farmers are still far away from the modern agriculture comparing to other developed countries. Our farmers use fertilizers to increase yield, they use insecticides to control pest, they use fungicides and other chemicals to prevent diseases, but, side by side they damage the soil condition by using excess fertilizer, they sometimes kill some beneficial insects and also they may use the wrong chemical for a foreign disease and induce toxicity in the edible food products. These unwise practices are reducing our land productivity and in some cases farmers also face losses. In order to cope with the global developing agriculture, the agricultural scientists have to help them by providing timely necessary information. When, where and how, the answer to these questions should be conveyed to them just in time.
Feeling this concern to set up a connection between farmers and scientists, the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU) has undertaken a groundbreaking initiative. This initiated has developed a specialized device that makes use of multiple sensors and works in tandem with smartphones that will help our farmers to stay always cognizant about soil, environment and crop health. The farmers can use this device through a specialized smartphone app to collect data from the crop fields and vegetable gardens and send them to a server using the internet. Analyzing the data, agriculture experts would give them specific advice on the use of pesticides, fertilisers, irrigation and agricultural input decision.
The days of traditional agriculture is going to have an end because ICT has been combined with Agricultural sectors in Bangladesh too. This act will without any doubt influence the progress towards Sustainable development Program for Bangladesh (Digital Bangladesh: Vision 2021) that includes agricultural development and land management. The day is not so far when every village of our country will be occupied with all modern technology and communication aids and every farmer will become digitalized smart farmer.