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Mis in Agro-Business


Submitted By nafisa
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We are reporting on Management Information Systems practices in agricultural industry. We tried to think closely the application of Management Information Systems in agro-society, and we recommended some suggestions to them and all over how they can improve and more accurately and superficially apply the Management Information Systems in their relevant fields.

Management Information Systems (MIS) means the whole network of systems which support the organization to manage their business affairs. * Management information systems (MIS) deals with behavioral issues as well as technical issues surrounding the development, use, and impact of information systems used by managers and employees in the firm. As such, MIS is defined as the study of information systems focusing on their use in business and management. * Management information systems (MIS) combine computer science, management science, operations research and practical orientation with behavioral issues.
Information System * Information System (IS) can be define as a set of procedures that collects, retrieves, processes, stores and disseminates information to support organizational decision making and control. * Information Systems: Information systems are applications having functionalities which can be exploited by business, and information technology provides capabilities which enable these applications.
So we can say that information systems are the ends and information technology is the means.
MIS basically has three primary resources: People, Technology and Information.

Field of Management Information Systems (MIS) Deals With
It is important for individuals who work in the MIS field to have good interpersonal skills and a thorough understanding of business, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many people think MIS just deals with programming, but that is false, according to Florida State University. Many Management Information Systems professionals are managers who oversee the technical aspects of a business.
The Field of Management Information Systems focuses on making a company or organization more efficient through its technical systems. As technology continues to develop and expand to all areas of business, many companies are looking to hire chief executive officers with a background in MIS, according to the University of Georgia.
According to the University of Illinois at Springfield, individuals who work in the field of MIS can have titles like: * Information security manager * Network administrator * Applications developer * Project manager

Individuals with a degree in Management Information Systems can work in environments including: * Governance * Defense * Aviation * Business and Banking * Economy * Health sector * Accounting firms * Government agencies * Energy companies * Non-profit organizations * Agriculture

Agriculture is the cultivation of crops, fruits, flowers, cattle, fishes, fungi and other life forms of food, fiber, bio-fuel and other products used to sustain life. The entire process consists of various activities involving people, nature and technology. With the advancement of science, technology and information systems, the role of ICT and IS in the development of agriculture is as important as those of human beings and nature. The agro-industry consists of various activities such as the cultivation, supply, storing, marketing and managing the produced farm goods.

The agro-industry plays the fundamental role in incorporating agriculture and business by connecting the rural farms to the business firms. In other words, where the business firms and governments meet the farmers to accomplish their needs for the products required to sustain life, the farmers meet the diverse options of improving their sectors through improved seeds, fertilizers, insights on climate, improved soil fertility, and various other agro-infrastructural development. Agro-society Around the Globe
Civilization began with agriculture. When our nomadic ancestors began to settle and grow their own food, human society was forever changed. Not only did villages, towns and cities begin to flourish, but so did knowledge, the arts and the technological sciences.
And for most of history, society's connection to the land was intimate. Human communities, no matter how sophisticated, could not ignore the importance of agriculture. To be far from dependable sources of food was to risk malnutrition and starvation.
In modern times, however, many in the urban world have forgotten this fundamental connection. Insulated by the apparent abundance of food that has come from new technologies for the growing, transportation and storage of food, humanity's fundamental dependence on agriculture is often overlooked.
The upcoming World Food Summit serves as an important opportunity to reconsider the fundamental importance of agriculture - and the degree to which the global and independent nature of human society today requires a re-thinking of our attitudes and approaches to world food production and distribution.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is sponsoring the Summit, has expressed "deep concern" regarding the current and future status of the world's agri-food system, and called for immediate action at the national and international levels to attack the "root causes" of persistent food insecurity.
Ultimately, it is only through enhanced processes of social development which recognize the fundamental value of spiritual principles in education, community organization, and the application of technology that true food security can be established. It is necessarily a long term solution, but lays a firm foundation for a sustainable and secure food supply for all.

Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh has a primarily agrarian economy. Agriculture is the single largest producing sector of the economy since it comprises about 18.6% (data released on November, 2010) of the country's GDP and employs around 45% of the total labor force. The performance of this sector has an overwhelming impact on major macroeconomic objectives like employment generation, poverty alleviation, human resources development and food security.
A plurality of Bangladeshis earn their living from agriculture. Although rice and jute are the primary crops, wheat is assuming greater importance. Tea is grown in the northeast. Because of Bangladesh's fertile soil and normally ample water supply, rice can be grown and harvested three times a year in many areas. Due to a number of factors, Bangladesh's labor-intensive agriculture has achieved steady increases in food grain production despite the often unfavorable weather conditions. These include better flood control and irrigation, a generally more efficient use of fertilizers, and the establishment of better distribution and rural credit networks. With 35.8 million metric tons produced in 2000, rice is Bangladesh's principal crop. National sales of the classes of insecticide used on rice, including granular carbofuran, synthetic pyrethroids, and malathion exceeded 13,000 tons of formulated product in 2003. The insecticides not only represent an environmental threat, but are a significant expenditure to poor rice farmers. The Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) is working with various NGOs and international organizations to reduce insecticide use in rice.

MIS and Agriculture
Generally, agriculture belongs to various kinds of activities where Management Information System can be a productive component of the agro-industry. Here some of the relevant deeds of agriculture- * Crop yielding * Processing * Marketing * Storage * Sampling and food safety * Pest and nutrition * Harvest’s quality * Weather forecast * Planting management * Field maintenance * Labour management * Meeting the needs of the farmers * Conveying their problems to the concern * Conveying the solutions to the farmers
Directly or indirectly, Management Information System could be a better solution to the people related to the agro society. People are living in the rural areas are partially unable to use the better policy to grow better quality crops and to use technological help actually, where the productive usage of IS or Information Technology in managing their needs could be more valuable than their actual deeds.

Management Information System in Action
Here we are going to discuss about the complete partial usage of MIS in agricultural terms and deeds as well-
Crop Yielding
A measurement of the amount of a crop that was harvested per unit of land area. Crop yield is the measurement often used for a cereal, grain or legume and is normally measured in metric tons per hectare (or kilograms per hectare).Crop yield can also refer to the actual seed generation from the plant. For example, a grain of wheat yielding three new grains of wheat would have a crop yield of 1:3. It is also referred to as "agricultural output."

Figure: Yielding Poppy
To estimate the crop yield, producers usually count the amount of a given crop harvested in a sample area. The harvested crop is then weighed, and the crop yield of the entire field is extrapolated from the sample.
In crop yielding process, computerized estimation has been developed frequently. If anyone get failed to use the local technology, internet and recent technology based service for yielding might be useful to estimate the perfect measure.
Processing and Storage
Farmer households in loess plateau have accumulated experience to successfully preserve potato for 11-12 months. This is done by making a cellar by digging a vertical well 4 - 5 m deep followed by an underground horizontal tunnel 4 - 5 m long and 1-1.5 m high. One month before storing potato, open the door of the cellar to ventilate for keeping the cellar dry and clean. If the cellar has been used in the last winter, scrape the thin top layer of the soil from the ground and the walls and throw this soil out of the cellar. If the cellar is covered by bricks on the ground and the walls, a rinse of quick lime should be given. Spray disinfectant two days before putting potato in the cellar. After that close the door of the cellar till potato is stored. Before storing, dry the potatoes in the sun for one day soon after harvesting.

Figure: Processing of Potatoes

In terms of good storage solution, estimated temperature and process should be maintained as well. These technologies do not belong to the potato culture only, but also in the terms of whole cultivated products that belong to the information system. One who does not know the actual process may get help by information system for managing the task. That is how the MIS could be involved here for making the betterment.

Product Marketing
A Product market is something that is referred to when pitching a new product to the general public.
There are two important aspects to the marketing of agricultural products. The first has to do with the physical process that brings products from producers to customers; the fundamental stages of this are the collection, packaging, transport, processing, storage and lastly the retail sale of agro-products. The first aspect shall be dealt with in detail in the fact sheet on post-harvest management. The second aspect, which is addressed here, involves the market pricing mechanism.

Figure: Product Marketing

In addition, with the help of information and technology, the producer can make connection with the customer over the world that is helpful to promote the goods and their quality as well. A good communication system is important for marketing strategy of ant business which can be made by using management information system undoubtedly.
Pest Control and Nutrition
Pest control is at least as old as agriculture, as there has always been a need to keep crops free from pests. In order to maximize food production, it is advantageous to protect crops from competing species of plants, as well as from herbivores competing with humans. Here some of the ways of controlling pest- * Biological pest control * Elimination of breeding grounds * Poisoned bait * Field burning * Hunting * Traps * Poison spray * Space fumigation * Space treatment * Sterilization * Destruction of infected plants * Natural rodent control * Repellents
On the other hand, the notion of electronic spider control is gaining a lot of recognition over the years as a result of the increasing outcomes of venoms and also chemical compounds inside the soil plus in the houses. The chemical insecticides or nuisance repellants are certainly not just detrimental for your land, also for your health of this young ones and house animal. Computerized spider control gadgets are thus better and their high-frequency waves might be better and eco-friendly. The digital pesticide contraptions can strictly be labeled beneath two categories- electromagnetic and ultrasonic. The electromagnetic digital pest control instruments perform the job by making the electromagnetic arena from the vibrations. Inside a means, these devices can result in cablings around your residence and this prohibits rats from arrival into living environment or perhaps in the land

Figure: Electronic pest controller
It must be pointed out that many of many electromagnetic digital pest contraptions are meant for the outside, as the other people destined specifically for inside use only. A few of these will also be flexible. Consequently, they can be used for numerous objectives. The ultrasonic computerized pesticide gadgets ward off the mice by sending out the excessive volume waves that happen to be small lengthy. These kinds sounds are totally secure for human beings but as far when the mice are worried, the rodents, bats, doggies, pests and comparable mice keep away from these high-frequency seems. These kinds of digital pest contraptions may also be good to drive away the pest infestation for instance lacewings, moths and grasshoppers. The largest advantage of by using digital spider control contraptions would be that they can be utilized for wide range of insects such as silverfish, spiders, flies, cockroaches, lizards, rats and mice. No doubt, the electronic pesticide devices may well be equally efficient than the old-fashioned pest control gadgets or options and even more in comparison with anything, the unit are totally safe, particularly if people could have house animal and children at their home. For the exact kinds of insects, they can always make use of specific computerized pest control contraptions. Here also we get the usage of technological devices for controlling pests from the crop fields to the home grounds where information system might be provided as well. Weather forecast Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a given location. Agricultural activities are very sensitive to climate and weather conditions. An agricultural decision-maker can either be at the mercy of these natural factors or try to benefit from them. Agrometeorological information, in practice mainly climatological data, in essential in planning agricultural production.
Farmers rely on weather forecasts to decide what work to do on any particular day. For example, drying hay is only feasible in dry weather. Prolonged periods of dryness can ruin cotton, wheat, and corn crops. While corn crops can be ruined by drought, their dried remains can be used as a cattle feed substitute in the form of silage Frosts and freezes play havoc with crops both during the spring and fall. Orange groves can suffer significant damage during frosts and freezes, regardless of their timing.
Here some of the devices perform weather forecasting activities- * Thermometer- to measure air temperature * Barometer- to measure air pressure * Hydrometer- to measure moisture * Rain collector- to collect rain * Anemometer- to detect wind flow Weather forecast helps a farmer in taking agricultural decisions like- * To irrigate the crop or not * When to apply fertilizer or not * Whether to start complete harvesting or to withhold it * When to take measures to fight frost * When to make transportation and storage of food grains * Managing cultural operations like plugging harrowing hoeing etc * To measure to protect livestock

Figure: Barometer

Figure: Anemometer Labor Management Farm personnel are certainly not a constant. Whatever control over production at any farm, it is achieved through people, whether they are in production, supervisory, administrative or management positions. How these individuals are selected and managed makes all the differences. People management skills can be broken down into three essential ingredients- * A concern for productivity and for employees * An understanding of human resource management * Purposeful action To effectively manage a labor force, an employer must be concerned about the productivity and about the people. Some farmers are always looking for ways to improve production and ensure the long-run viability of the business. Management generally expect personnel to- * Consistently produce high quality work on a timely basis * Take their responsibilities seriously, at times even going beyond the call of duty * Show concern for the welfare of the farming operation and for the employees * Representing the farming enterprise well within the community Employees also hope in turn that management will- * Value their feeling and operations * Provide positive feedback for work well done * Meet the agreed-upon terms and conditions of employment * Be consistent and courteous * Provide a work environment where they can develop their potential and over time * Good communication relationship between the authority and the employees * Not to take advantages on the employees * Receive their feedback without harassment * Provide them a secured life and future Though the whole shot belongs to the managerial function, a good synchronized relationship between the workers via communication system may useful for the producer.

Figure: Labors working in a crop-field Providing useful information for the workers would be one of the productive inputs for the production. Using information system, managing labor and having the recent updates about the crops would be a good way the producer and the workers both. Using technological help, the division of labor according to land quantity might be one of the strategy of growing plenty of products from the field. Here we suspect that management information system between the two groups of the people related to produce crops may make the betterment of the agro-society. Conveying Farmers’ problems to the Concern and Solving Sometimes farmers may face various kinds of troubles while producing crops. They might have land problems, seed problems, fertilizing problems, pest problems and so on. They also might have not the recent knowledge and technology of growing products. In the rural areas, good communication system is might not be provided yet. All the problems they face should come to light and be solved anyway, where MIS can play an important and active role after all. A local call center type service center might be useful to this fact. One or some persons with one computer with simple internet connection can listen to the producers’ problems and make those solved by using information through internet. Having a webcam can be more useful; using that stuff they might be able to contact with specialist early and effectively.

Figure: A specialist and a farmer Through the entire process of farming, farmers face various problems such as lower than estimated production, deccelerayion in crop production due to various crop diseases, climatic changes, unpredicted disasters such as cyclone, flood etc. In situations as these, every year 20-30% and sometimes even 40% of the agriculture products get destroyed. Consequently, adversely affecting the farmers and persons concerned at an individual level as well as, adversely affecting the entire nation's economy and demand. In such conditions, the role of the information systems in conveying the problems of the farmers to the concerned and conveying the messages and information of the responsible to the farmers is immense. A fine example of such an activity is the initiative taken by one of the reknowned journalists of Bangladesh, Shaikh Siraj. The reknowned personality of the television has made the agro-industry easily accessible and profitable to the entire nation by bringing forth the possiblities of the industry. Shaikh Siraj in his TV program promotes all those farmers who have succeeded in producing a particular crop in demand in country and abroad. But most importantly, the man's role in expanding the Field Farmer's School beyond imagination is highly appreciated. The Field Farmer's School is an initiative taken by Bangladesh Government to give farmers knowledge on various crops, their production possibilities, their problems, and solutions etc in a practical method. In this act, a person from the Ministry of Agriculture goes from one village to another and demonstrates the various activities and to-do thins. Through the TV program directed by Shaikh Siraj, the activities of the school are telecast nation wide creating awareness among the farmers and increasing their knowledge. Now, farmers know the various crops profitable for culture, in demand in the local and international markets as well as about crop diseases and their remedies. Another highly appreciated step taken by the Ministry of Agriculture of Bangladesh Government is the establishing of a website named Agriculture Information Services. The website also brings forth various important information are useful for the farmers and the persons concerned with rural farming activities. Their information also include prices of the products in local and international markets, their demands, information about crop diseases and their solutions, weather forecast messages etc. Agriculture, MIS and Bangladesh Some facts * 80% of the people live in rural areas * 54% of those people earn by agriculture * The rest of the 26% earn from the non-farm sector * The agro-industry contributes to 21% of the national GDP * Poverty in BD is primarily a ‘rural phenomenon’ * 53% of its rural population is classified as poor * The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to reduce poverty by half (26%) by 2015. To achieve that, we require a growth rate of at least 4% in agriculture and 7% in rural non farm sector
The People’s Republic of Bangladesh has been stated as the 44th largest economy in the world with a Purchasing Power Parity of US $ 257 billion according to the IMF. According to the World Bank, Bangladesh has been able to reduce its dependency on foreign grant to meet its annual budget needs from 85% to 4% by 2011. This has been hugely possible due to the vital contribution of the agro-industry.

Agro-Industry of Bangladesh belongs To
According to the BBS, the agro-industry contributes 23.50% to the GDP with 52% of the manpower employed in the agro-industry. The agro-industry includes the food crops, livestock, fisheries, flowers as well as the products produced from the agricultural raw materials. The list of some of the food crops and agricultural goods produced in Bangladesh has been mentioned as follows-

* Rice * Paddy * Wheat * Pulses * Oilseeds * Tubers * Spices * Sugar cane * Tea * Jute * Potato * Onion * Mustard * Tropical fruits such as; mango, banana, pine-apple, guava etc * Flowers * Livestock * Salt water and sweet water fishes * Other goods such as; jute products, cane furniture etc

Challenges Faced by the Agro-Industry of Bangladesh * The population of Bangladesh is increasing at a rapid rate of 1.6% per year causing the area of cultivable lands to decrease by 1% annually. * Bangladesh, also known as the biggest buyer of rice of South Asia, has to import 400,000 metric tons of rice every year to meet the needs of the increasing population which costs about US $15 million. * Bangladesh is the terminal floodplain delta of three large rivers - Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Meghna. Every year about 20 to 30 percent, and every few years about 40 percent, of the country is flooded, causing serious damage to infrastructure, crops and the overall economy. * With increasing population, industrialization and urbanization, the cultivable land area is decreasing day by day. * Due to decrease in cultivable land, a major portion of the population is remaining unemployed. * Again, the agro-industry is failing to meet the demand of the increasing population causing a food deficit in the country. * Due to lack of proper predictions, the farmers meet over-production and under-production of agricultural goods in different years. * The farmers, due to lack of proper communication remain unaware of the climatic changes and their affects on the production. * Plant diseases or other problems faced by the farmers remain un-conveyed to the respective authority. * When there is a bumper production, the prices of the goods fall adversely affecting the farmers. But, if with the help of technology, the government makes assumption of the quantity of the production, then, they can take necessary initiatives in advance. Like, they can make arrangements for storing, exporting etc

Possibilities from the Agro-Industry of Bangladesh * According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Bangladesh earns a total of 44% from the export of the agricultural goods amounting to a total of US $ 837 million (2011-2012). * The market margins of the agro-industry is very high compared to the goods and services produced by the industry. But unfortunately, the lack of market information plays a vital role in stopping the country’s agro-industry from growing further The Goals that Bangladesh Government Should Achieve to develop Its Economy and Agro-Industry * Increase the quantity of cultural goods exported * Decrease the quantity of agricultural goods imported * Make the agro-industry accessible, lucrative and profitable for the rural and urban people and thus ensure increased employment of the people; after all, decrease in unemployment rate makes appositive contribution to the country’s GDP

And with MIS * With MIS, we can increase our crop production with the ‘technology’. Thus, we can reduce our imports and increase our exports * Employ more people in agricultural activities as well as train educated people and engage them in the works related to Information System and Technology * With a good information and communication system, we can make the agro-industry easily accessible and lucrative. Because, then, when the farmers will have easy access to information, they will be more benefitted and thus be encouraged to work in the agro-industry Using MIS in the Agro-Industry Marketing Thus, the challenges faced by the industry can be overcome with advanced technology and improved information systems. With a view to that, The Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Bangladesh has undertaken an e-government initiative that would utilize the power of ICT to develop and disseminate critical agricultural market information to farmers, traders, government, policy makers, development agencies and other stakeholders. * Under the overall coordination and support of the Government’s Support to ICT Task Force, DAM has developed the first phase of its program to automate data entry at the district level where market information of agricultural products is collected from local markets. The initiative also attempts at developing the capacity of the DAM head office in Dhaka to consolidate and coordinate dissemination of the information to government, farmers, and other stakeholders * The web enabled information system would make a significant contribution to DAM’s effort to collect and disseminate updated information on agricultural market prices on a daily basis * The information system would enable DAM to undertake extensive analysis of market behavior and pattern of agricultural products that would be of considerable value to government policy makers and other users * DAM will strive to continuously refine and update relevant information and analysis generated from its market information system * Concurrently, it will upgrade the technology drivers of its information system to provide for greater coverage and appropriate dissemination of agricultural market information

The present age is the age of information. Management Information System is the system utilized to manage organizations effectively and efficiently. Conveying the right information at the right time to the right person is what Management Information System does. In the process, it brings out the best in a specific organization. The Agro-industry of Bangladesh is filled with many possibilities. The basic idea of integrating the Management Information Systems with the Agro-Industry is to achieve an efficient agronomy for the country. In a country like Bangladesh, a major portion of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood and the entire population is dependent on the agro-industry to meet their needs for food, nutrition and other useful commodities. With the help of MIS and factors related to it, the agro-industry can overcome countless problems and also develop the sector manifold. The application of MIS starts from the Government level and reaches to people from all walks of life. It is amazing how the system can provide the administrators and decision makers of the state with information which will further help them to make decisions and take initiatives accordingly. On the other hand, the rural people who work day and night just to earn their livelihood can be immensely benefitted by the information they get.
ICT and MIS in the agro-industry play multi-ferrous roles starting from the testing of soil quality, improving seed quality, increasing crop yield, reducing the use of harmful insecticides, weather forecasting to packaging, marketing and managing the produced goods. In the age of information, the MIS can play a critical role in determining a country’s future economy and socio-business aspects. MIS plays the most important role now in meeting and solving the various field problems faced by the farmers. The farmers can now easily expand their knowledge on variety of crops, their productions, the crop and cattle diseases, their remedies, the market state of the produced goods, predictions regarding climate change etc.
Various Government and Non-Government organizations and individuals are coming forward with innovative ideas about infusing the MIS with the agro-industry and taking the industry to a wider horizon. All such efforts have been highly appreciated by the concerned. There are many more possibilities of improving and making the industry efficient. And, with the help of MIS, any progress on the processes and systems can be conveyed to the concerned in the shortest possible time. Thus, the people of Bangladesh now have high hopes from the agro-industry and all gratitude to the MIS for that.


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