Lecture 9, 6/17

Technology and Agriculture
The ILO estimates that one third of the world population works in agriculture. Today we take a broad look at how and where technology fits in agriculture and at some of the efforts that have been carried out to improve both yield and working conditions, as well as market and information access for farmers. We begin with a historical case: the Green Revolution in India, and we look at its short- and long-term consequences. In the second part of the lecture, we look at ‘thinking small’ versus ‘thinking big’ in agriculture, and at how mobile phones can be used to help small-hold farmers.

Required readings
– Parayil, G. “The Green Revolution in India: A Case Study of Technological Change.” Technology and Culture, Vol. 33 (1992), p. 737–756.
– Shiva, V. 1991. “The Green Revolution in Punjab.” The Ecologist, Vol. 21, No. 2.
– Jenny C. Aker, “Dial A for Agriculture: A Review of Information and Communication Technologies for Agricultural Extension in Developing Countries

Background readings
– NYTimes Articles – Farmer Suicides in Karnataka, India

Jensen, Robert. 2007. “The Digital Provide: Information (Technology), Market Performance, and Welfare in the South Indian Fisheries Sector.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 122 (3): 879–924.

Burrell, J. & Oreglia, E. “The Myth of Market Price Information” (working paper)

Other resources
– resources on ICT and farming/market activities: Beyond Market Prices: Mobile Phones in Trade and Livelihood Activities in Ghana, Uganda, India, China