Uzhavan App helps farmers make informed choices



Kavi Sharma, a farmer who grows coconut, banana and paddy at Melavalavu near Melur in Madurai, says that through the inputs from Uzhavan App, run by the State Agriculture Department, he is able to make right choices related to the usage of fertilizers for his farm.

“Earlier I used to purchase around four types of fertilisers for my banana farm. Based on the recommendations from the app, now I spray only two types of fertilizers. The crop production has increased and it has helped in saving money too,” he says.

The app, launched by the State government in 2018, has helped farmers in the district make informed choices. The app has been downloaded for over 16,000 times so far in the district since its launch and the district stands in 14th position in the State in terms of the number of downloads.

Launched as part of an e-governance initiative, the application currently provides 15 types of services to farmers both in Tamil and English. The application provides information on the government’s schemes and subsidies, crop insurance, the status of seed and fertiliser stock, market price, the position of reservoirs and the weather forecast.

The ‘My farm guide’ option, which uses Artificial Intelligence, is particularly useful for new farmers, explains Mr. Sharma. “It helps to get crop calendars tailor-made to suit individual soil and climatic conditions. We can click pictures of any complaints regarding pest infestation and post it through the app for enquiry. The solutions are then suggested through the app,” he says.

M. Ramalingam, a farmer who grows minor millets in Sivarakottai, says that the applications help the farmers to check on the credibility of information told by the officials.

The custom hiring centres have helped farmers to rent government farming equipment at an economical cost, says K.M. Gopalan, a farmer from Kottampatti. “I registered for hiring a harvester, which costs only around ₹800 each hour. Once, there is the availability of equipment, I get a call from the officials. Due to the lack of this knowledge, earlier we used to hire a harvester at a high cost of ₹1,500 from the private players,” he says. It is also easy to track the status of crop insurance, he adds.

However, there is a need for more awareness on the usage of the application to farmers to enable them to access the benefits, says K. Santhosh Kumar, Project Executive, ICT for poor, DHAN Foundation.

“A considerable number of farmers have smartphones with them and the agriculture department can take steps to create awareness to enable them to use the application,” he says.

Gagandeep Singh Bedi, Agricultural Production Commissioner and Principal Secretary (Agriculture), says that the officials create awareness of the usage of the application during farmers’ meetings.

“We are also planning to take steps to create more awareness,” he says.

M. Elangovan, Joint Director of Agriculture, Madurai, says that currently, awareness programmes are held on the new crop insurance schemes that are available to farmers. “We can also demonstrate the usage of app to the farmers during this process,” he says.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 10:56:58 PM |

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