Pakistan's First Digital Dera At Remote Village Of PakPattan

The Digital Dera Is An Attempt To Empower Local Farmers Through The Internet Connectivity And Access To Digital Knowledge Economy

Pakistan's First Digital Dera At Remote Village Of PakPattan

Agriculture Republic, a think tank, in collaboration with the Internet Society Global has set up Pakistan’s first “Digital Dera” at remote village of Pakpattan district to train 15,000 farmers of the area in digital farming practices by providing them access to latest technology and resources in the farming sector. In the first phase, two desktop computers and three tablets have been made available at the Dera which been equipped with a fast brand-band connection in an air-conditioned atmosphere powered by a solar system.

The rise of digital agriculture and its related technologies has opened a wealth of new data opportunities and has the potential to change agriculture for the better. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates, by 2050 Internet of Things (IoT) can help increase agricultural productivity by 70 percent. Technologies such as laser land leveling, solar-powered high efficiency irrigation systems, smart water grids and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are now being used for agriculture. Director General Agriculture (Extension) Punjab Dr Anjum Ali Buttar, who was the chief guest at the inaugural, said that the government was taking all-out steps for introduction of climate smart agricultural practices in the province. He said that changing weather patterns demand introduction of new crop varieties resistant to climate change.

“The Digital Dera is an attempt to empower local farmers through the internet connectivity and access to digital knowledge economy,” said Agriculture Republic co-founder Aamer Hayat Bhandara. “It will also serve as a digital hub to organize awareness and capacity building sessions to educate the youth and small farmers about transparency and accountability in agriculture, food security and climate change policies.” He said the facility will not be confined to the residents of Chak 26-SP rather all the farmers from Pakpattan’s rural belt will have access to it to find solutions to their farming challenges, learning about the latest agriculture technology and extension services offered by various members and actors of the Agriculture Republic community.

Adnan, a young farmer of the village, while talking to a group of journalists said that providing a speedy internet in a village devoid of even 2G phone signals is a great achievement for them. He was hopeful that the facility will not only help them learn new farming techniques but also connect with agriculture experts to get advice on various issues faced from plantation to harvesting of various crops. Sarfaraz Hussain, another local farmer, looking forward to having information about latest agricultural research, new farming techniques for achieving maximum production with the minimum or judicious use of farm inputs.

This news was originally published at BRE Corder