‘Sowing App’ helps farmers reap it rich

By TheHindu on 23 Mar 2017

A Sowing App, developed by Microsoft and the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in partnership with the Government of AP, contributed to an average increase of 30 per cent in yield per acre.

The app was launched as a pilot project in Devanakonda mandal of Kurnool district in June 2016. It was developed to help small farmers cultivating groundnut achieve optimal harvests by advising them on the best time to sow, soil and other indicators. The results of the project were announced at a panel discussion during the two-day 20th National Conference on E-Governance, which concluded here on Tuesday. The personalised village advisory dashboard provides important insights into soil health, recommends fertilizer, and forecasts seven-day weather.

During the pilot project, farmers were sent 10 sowing advisories from June 10 via SMS in Telugu, comprising essential information such as seed treatment, optimum sowing depth, preventive weed management, land preparation, harvesting, shade drying, and storage. The data could be integrated with other data collected from the Rythu Kosam project.

“I have three acres and sowed groundnut on June 25, 2016, based on the recommendations of ICRISAT. The advisories on land preparation, sowing, and need-based plant protection were very useful,” said G. Chinnavenkateswarlu, a farmer of Bairavanikunta. “Registered farmers, who sowed in the last week of June and first week of July, and followed the advisories got better yields,” said C. Madhusudhana, president, Chaitanya Youth Association and Watershed Community Association, Devanakonda.

“The applicability of Intelligent Cloud is a significant start for digital agriculture, and we hope more governments and stakeholders would come forward to reap the benefits,” said MD, Microsoft India (R&D) Pvt. Ltd., Anil Bhansali.

Special Correspondent