The Story of the Rice Expert Exploring New Vistas of Science Communication
Mobile applications or apps are popular and resourceful media of mass communication these days. Since agriculture is the socio-economic backbone of India and many developing countries, agriculture-related mobile apps hold many possibilities to empower the farmers and other stakeholders alike for sustainable agriculture. The study was conducted to find out the story behind the Android mobile app – riceXpert, developed by ICAR-National Rice Research Institute (NRRI), Cuttack, from inception till the present status of utility, and to analyse the responses andfeedback of its users.
A sample of 50 rice farmers of Cuttack district in Odisha was selected through purposive sampling for the present study. An important finding of the study is that the farmers are less aware of the riceXpert mobile app and yet to discover its vast capability. Ignorance about the mobile app, its use and its different features, along with the need for support and guidance were cited as some of the reasons for lesser access. The universal power of smartphones opens up new vistas of effective science communication for specific target groups and to reduce the gender gap therein, through various useful mobile applications.
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