Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Energy News  


Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















FARM NEWS
Government use of technology has potential to increase food security
by Staff Writers
Ames IA (SPX) Mar 25, 2016


Shweta Chopra and Prashant Rajan say technology is one way to address problems with food waste and theft. Image courtesy Christopher Gannon, Iowa State University. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Acceptance of information technology can play a vital role in meeting the demand for food in developing countries, according to a new study by Iowa State University researchers. The research is published in the journal Information Technologies and International Development.

It's projected that the world population will reach 9.6 billion people by 2050, and therefore food production must increase by 70 percent. But Prashant Rajan, an adjunct assistant professor of English and communication studies, and Shweta Chopra, an assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, say production is not the only solution to meet the growing demand for food.

"A lot of people talk about how to increase production. We found that production is not a challenge in some areas. There is enough food, but the problem is logistics and providing access to food," Chopra said. "Communication and information technology can improve access to food and trace where the food is coming from and how it's being processed, rather than just putting all the resources into production."

Chopra and Rajan traveled to Chhattisgarh, India - a rice-surplus state - to study how the government is using technology to improve its public distribution system for food. India spends $13 to 14 billion annually procuring food from farmers and giving it to people in need. But around 40 percent of the food that circulates through the system is lost, Rajan said.

"What's happening is food that is meant for people living below the poverty line is being diverted into the open market or black market by people who are responsible for distributing the food from farm to table," Rajan said. "What we're looking at in Chhattisgarh is essentially 5.4 million households or a little over 20 million people who stand to benefit from targeted technological reforms that can improve the efficiencies and transparency of food distribution."

Adoption and acceptance
Information and communication technology has the potential to reduce waste and theft in India's public distribution system as well as improve food access for beneficiaries, Chopra said. Families now use a card, similar to an ATM or debit card, to get their monthly food subsidy. Each transaction is recorded electronically, which creates transparency and checks and balances for where the food is distributed, she said. It also gives families the freedom to choose where they shop. Prior to this change, families were assigned to a single shop.

However, successful implementation of these technologies is often hindered by resistance from shop owners and salespeople, who must adopt and integrate the new technology in their operations. The fair-shop owners and salespeople, who distribute the food to beneficiaries, must see a benefit.

Chopra and Rajan surveyed 166, or 75 percent, of the salespeople using the technology in four Chhattisgarh districts in 2013. They expected many to be dissatisfied, and were surprised to find that the more experienced salespeople - often older and less educated - had a greater appreciation for the technology.

"The person who was less educated found the complex calculations that they had to do by hand to be more difficult," Chopra said. "The technology provided them a more organized way to do their monthly sales calculations and their daily stock keeping."

The results do not suggest that younger, more educated salespeople dislike the technology. Chopra and Rajan say they simply relate to technology in a different way. The study found shop owners and salespeople feel the technology has also increased their credibility and social influence.

Rajan explained that it's not unusual for salespeople to give into local political pressures to cheat the system out of fear for their livelihood. As a result, they lost respect in the community and were accused of stealing food subsidies from customers who are generally friends and neighbors. With the new technology for tracking and accountability, it is now easier for salespeople to defend against those pressures.

"If you want to eliminate the pilferage and the theft of food that rightfully belongs to citizens, you need to address the people who are responsible for providing food access," Rajan said. "For a lot of honest salespeople, the technology was a way to address the stigma that was associated with their job."

Applying what they learned
As government agencies implement and expand the use of information and communication technology, training will be an important part of the process. Through their research, Chopra and Rajan found that salespeople in Chhattisgarh perceived training sessions taught by government officials or engineers could be intimidating and insufficient.

Chopra and Rajan have recommended having salespeople train their peers as they can better relate and explain the benefits of the technology. The researchers say the study also shows the benefits of cross-disciplinary collaboration across agricultural and biosystems engineering and communication studies to develop novel approaches to development issues such as food access.

.


Related Links
Iowa State University
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
FARM NEWS
Smaller corn size means more energy for pigs, lower costs for producers
Urbana IL (SPX) Mar 23, 2016
The results of new research at the University of Illinois indicate that it is possible for producers to reduce feed costs if yellow dent corn, a staple of swine diets in the United States, is ground to a finer particle size. The smaller particle size allows pigs to derive more energy from the corn, which means producers can reduce the amount of fat added to diets (reducing their costs) wit ... read more


FARM NEWS
Russia Prepared to Offer Launch Options for Morocco's Satellite

Jason-3 Begins Mapping Oceans, Sees Ongoing El Nino

Satellites to help check unauthorised construction at monuments

Improving farm and water management with DMC constellation

FARM NEWS
ISRO Developing 'Front-End Chip' for Satellite Navigation System

India to Launch Sixth Navigational Satellite on Thursday

Lockheed Martin building next generation of military GPS satellites

Traffic app says not at fault for Israel troops losing way

FARM NEWS
Drought alters recovery of Rocky Mountain forests after fire

Recycling pecan wood for commercial growing substrates

China's forest recovery shows hope for mitigating global climate change

No logging at protected Tasmanian forest: Australia

FARM NEWS
The flexible way to greater energy yield

Smaller, cheaper microbial fuel cells turn urine into electricity

Generating electricity with tomato waste

Lockheed and Concord Blue to build new bioenergy facility in Germany

FARM NEWS
Australia invests $760 million in technologies to fight climate change

Lockheed Martin forms energy group

Industry tightens screws on solar panel safety

Ingeteam Test Labs join Intertek's global SATELLITE program

FARM NEWS
Statoil testing battery storage for wind energy

Small-scale wind energy on the rise

Re-thinking renewable energy predictions

Xinjiang Goldwind now world's top wind turbine producer

FARM NEWS
Coal fading from U.S. energy landscape

Chinese coal miners strike over wages, layoffs

U.S. coal exports on the decline; As JPMorgan sounds warning

High-carbon coal products could derail China's clean energy efforts

FARM NEWS
Waisting time: paper-thin campaign raises questions in China

Self-destruction and harsh realities at Art Basel Hong Kong

Missing Chinese journalist has been detained: lawyer

Rights groups slam China over missing journalist




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.