Developing technology from Oxford to India

OxfordUniversity has launched a new centre to carry out research into the development of technology and management in the developing world.

The Sanjaya Lall Programme for Technology and Management for Development (SLPTMD) is named after an Oxford professor whose research focused on the needs of developing countries in a multinational market.

One of the first projects to be undertaken by researchers is the improvement of e-services for farmers in India. In July, they will join an international team in Sironj, Madhya Pradesh, to provide computer and mobile phone technology to farming communities.

Mobile phones will be distributed to representatives from each of the farming communities, known as Munnas, who will respond to requests from farmers who need advice. The Munnas will take photographs of plants on their mobile phones and transmit those images to the agricultural experts for an immediate response.

The computer technology will also allow farmer cooperatives to tap into e-services, such as on-line banking, or current data on supply prices and market demand. This programme sees this project as a test bed for other similar schemes to be replicated in India and throughout the world.

The Sanjaya Lall Programme is funded by the Engineering and Physical Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Sanjaya Lall Trust, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the International Labour Organisation, the Fell Fund and the BritishAcademy.