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Indian government launches app for farmers

Image credit: icarindia; Twitter

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) recently launched a multilingual mobile application for farmers in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi.

The app was launched at the National Conference on Crop Residue Management in New Delhi. Crop residue burning has become a major environmental problem causing health issues and contributing to global warming. At the event, several farmers shared experiences and advice on crop residue management.

The app, CHC Farm Machinery, will allow farmers to connect to and avail the services of the customer hiring centres (CHCs) within 50 kilometres of their area.

According to a press release, it will connect local farmers from states across the country to CHCs and hi-tech hubs, established under the MoA&FW, without a computer support system.

The app will help individual farmers, willing to provide their agricultural machinery and equipment on a rental-basis, increase their farm income.

Earlier, the Indian government created a central sector scheme to support the Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh state governments, and to subsidise machinery required for the in-situ management of crop residue through agriculture mechanisation.

Central sector schemes are 100% funded and implemented by the central government.

During 2018-19, funds worth IN ₹584.33 crores (about US $82.2 million) were given to the state governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and ICAR. All three states have distributed 32,570 machines to the farmers on an individual ownership basis and established 7,960 custom hiring centres.

As a result, straw burning events in 2018 reduced by 15% and 41% as compared to that in 2017 and 2016 respectively, according to a report by the High-Power Committee.

This conference was organised in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to address the concerns of farmers and state governments.

The Uttar Pradesh state government recently approved a proposal of IN ₹3.12 crores (about US $439,233) to set up a hi-tech nursery seedling production unit. It will be established in this financial year as part of the National Agricultural Development Scheme.

India is pushing to modernise its agricultural processes by leveraging technology. It plans to implement more tech-based farming equipment and solutions to reduce costs and double farmer incomes by 2020.

According to a report, IoT and AI-based applications could create over 2.8 million jobs in rural India over 8 to 10 years with an annual value of IN ₹60,000 crores (about US $8.9 billion).

Out of the 2.8 million jobs, at least 2.1 million will be created for the agriculture sector and another 700,000 jobs will be created for the rural healthcare sector.

The percentage of employment in the country’s agriculture sector has consistently reduced from 52% in 2010 to 42% in 2018. IoT-based applications have the potential to reverse this trend.

Key applications like satellite mapping, electronic marketplace, livestock traceability, climate sensing stations, product traceability, and agriculture drones have the potential to transform the ailing agriculture sector.

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