Who said mobile technology will not work in the countryside? Here is an application that is all set to don every groundnut farmer’s palm as a ready reckoner on topics ranging from seed selection to fertilizer use, pest and disease management to storage tips and mechanisation to value addition.
‘Mana Verusenaga’ (Our Groundnut), released by the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University (Angrau), is dubbed a tool that gives a tech edge to groundnut growers of Rayalaseema and north coastal Andhra districts.
Designed by Astraa Agro Innovators, a start-up incubated by the Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI) of IIT Madras, it is available on Google Playstore and can be downloaded on Android OS-based smartphones.
The app shows 14 varieties of groundnut, their selection methodology, seed treatment, spacing of crops, sowing season and the symptoms of deficiency of iron, phosphorous, nitrogen etc. The site deals with ways to keep at bay the red-haired caterpillar and spodoptera caterpillar that wreak the maximum havoc, besides the sucking pests like greenhoppers, thrips and aphids. “Apart from the eight common diseases, their symptoms, spread and means of control, there are sections on eradicating rodents and wild boars from the fields,” Kadiri Mohan, app administrator and an Agricultural Extension Scientist at the Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS), Tirupati, told The Hindu.
Rubbishing pessimistic remarks on power shutdown, weak signal connectivity and poor smartphone penetration in villages, the application has seen over 800 downloads by farmers and field officers alike. “It requires 23MB of space. Once downloaded, it works offline and hence requires neither signal nor data connectivity,” Dr. Mohan added.
Farmers are happy to use the app. “Pesticide dealers earlier suggested us a heavy dose of chemicals, but now, we upload the diseased plant’s photo and get custom-made solution,” says Ram Naik, a graduate tribal farmer of Peddamandyam in Chittoor district.
“The app offers useful information on disease prevention, but should focus on remedial aspects too,” feels N. Shekar Rao of Turkapally in Nalgonda (Telangana). Sale Venkatramana Rao of Bobbili (Vizianagaram) is ready to sow groundnut as inter-crop in his mango garden, thanks to the app. Tanuku (West Godavari) based student P. Srinivas downloaded it out of curiosity and felt the ‘navigation’ great.