The power of the marginal: Institutions and technology as the game changers

Dhananjay Ray, Subrata Majumdar, Mitali Ghosh and Rajeshwar Mishra


The CDHI team have been working closely with marginal farmers from Dholaguri and Uttar Chakoakheti to improve our understanding of the role of institutions, innovation, technology and collectivization as communities adapt to sustainable dry season agriculture. A posting to the web site in January 2017 outlined an engagement process that is providing useful insights into the evolution of these collectives.

This note provides an update (see link below) and shares learnings from a workshop held at Jalpaiguri in February 2017 which obtained farmer insights into institutional development, training requirements and management of technological innovation. The article outlines implications for DSI4MTF and our sister project SIAGI, which is promoting socially inclusive and sustainable agricultural intensification in West Bengal and southern Bangladesh. .

The discussions highlight some of the myths and realities of marginal farming communities and reconfirms the importance of the researcher-farmer engagement process.

Please follow this link to access the document.

The power of the marginal-revisited (1 MB PDF)

Further development of smart apps for data collection and decision support


Mobile technology is becoming commonplace in all industries and agriculture is no exception. While the number of farmers with smartphones in the project intervention villages is still very low, this will not always be the case.

The DSI4MTF project team are continuing to develop a suite of mobile friendly applets. The applets are still in development phase but have been designed with three (somewhat overlapping) audiences in mind. Some applets are designed to be used by farmers, some are designed to be used by engineers undertaking technical assessments, and others are designed for the DSI4MTF project staff team to help them accurately collect and report data.

Each week the DSI4MTF staff are collecting data on the groundwater level, pond levels and water quality, as well as key meteorological data (rainfall and pan evaporation). This data is then entered directly into the mobile phone app which sends the data for each site to a cloud based server. The apps are cached on the mobile phone which means that they can still be used even if the phone has no data connection. The next time the phone has a connection (or connected to a WiFi network), the data stored on the phone will be synchronised to the server. This allows for near real-time reporting of field data which is critical when the data is being used to help provide irrigation scheduling advice to farmers.

The attached Technical Note provide an overview of the applets that have been developed for the project. If you would like further information on the applets. Please contact  Michael Scobie

1005628 – Technical Note 1 – DSI4MTF Applets (PDF 3 MB)