Karnataka govt personalises crop advice with tech aid

Karnataka govt personalises crop advice with tech aid

Representative image. Credit: AFP Photo

Karnataka is in an advanced stage of designing a technology-enabled system in which farmers will receive personalised crop advisories to help every individual increase yield. 

Authorities claim that this will be a first-of-its-kind initiative since the government now has a rich database comprising details of land, crop and soil for every farmer. This data will be mixed with village-wise weather details to provide advisories that are relevant to farmers and the crops they are growing. 

Karnataka has 72.46 lakh farmers registered on the flagship Farmer Registration & Unified Beneficiary Information System (FRUITS) portal, which makes customisation of crop advisories possible. Every farmer is given a FRUITS ID comprising Aadhaar, caste, land records and mobile number. 

"We know what each farmer grows, thanks to the crop survey. Then, we have soil health details -- red soil, black soil, alluvial soil and so on. Plus, we have weather information for every village depending on the agro-climatic zone. Using all this, the advisory can be given crop-wise, land-wise and agro-climatic zone-wise," Additional Chief Secretary (e-Governance) Rajeev Chawla told DH. 

At present, Chawla said the crop advisories being issued are "generic" in nature. 

The new system of advisories will also take into account at what stage the crop is in. "We know the approximate sowing and harvest date of the crops," Chawla said. "The advisory can be pushed to categories of farmers. For example, those growing pomegranate on black cotton soil in Vijayapura will get an advisory that is relevant to them," he said. 

The personalised crop advisory will roll out as soon as this project receives administrative approval. It is likely to first start for the mango crop in partnership with the Karnataka Mango Development and Marketing Board. 

"There's nothing better than this," Agriculture Commissioner Brijesh Kumar Dikshit said, adding that personalised crop advisory was long overdue. "If a person is growing maize, he'll get what he should know."

But farmer leader K S Nandini Jayaram of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha is not convinced. "This will definitely spoil our crop diversity," she said. "This is a hidden agenda for mono-cropping and an attempt at specialised farming, making marketing easy for corporates. All that we farmers want, instead, is a secure market."