Smartphones and the Internet are Helping Farmers To Grow Smartly and Get Higher Prices


A report in the Economic Times says maize farmers in Samastipur, Begusarai and Muzzaffarpur districts of Bihar are getting 20-30 percent higher prices.

  • They use an app from Ergos, a Bengaluru-based start-up that offers microwarehousing services, that is, the services of warehouses with capacities of 200 to 700 tonnes each
  • Farmers store maize at the warehouses, which Ergos grades. If also sends them price advisories.
  • Farmers can choose when to sell. Ergos charges Rs 6-12 a quintal per month as warehousing and advisory fee.
  • If they are in urgent need of cash, farmers can take loans from IDBI Bank and SBI up to 75 percent of grain value against warehousing receipts.
  • “Farmers are using WhatsApp big time… They are forming chat groups amongst themselves and sharing information,” G C Shrotriya, National Head (VAS), Iffco Kisan Sanchar, told ET.
  • Though all agri-tech companies have apps, farmers prefer direct communication. “Just an app is not good enough. We need people in the field also to guide and hand-hold farmers,” said Rajiv Tevtiya, CEO of RML AgTech, which provides weather and price information to farmers and tells them where to sell their produce.
  • “Mobile phones are making farming a viable business. They can bring in efficiency, increase productivity and bridge knowledge gaps,” Tevtiya told ET.
  • Iffco Kisan Sanchar, which has tied up with Bharti Airtel to link up farmers, helped Sarthak Tiwari of village Kumha in Bihar’s Saran district to consult a veterinary doctor online and treat his cow whose hooves had got infected for just Rs 130. ET said Prem Singh Verma of Himachal’s Theog district was able to treat stem rot disease in his cauliflower crop by seeing guidance on the phone.
  • Amit Kar, head of agricultural economics at Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) said its M-Krishi service helps prevent farmers from planting the same crop over vast tracts, so that over-production and price slumps are avoided.
  • Krishna Kumar, CEO of Cropin said his company’s app gives farmers weather and price updates. The company also does crop predictions, land audits and geo-spatial analysis of crops. “We can predict crop output. We can tell them which part of the field is yielding well by looking at satellite images.”
  • Companies like Crofarm procure directly from farmers and sell to agro-processors and small retailers.

(Top photo: Sanjeev Mane Astha of Sangli district is followed by a large number of farmers on WhatsApp for his advisories on sugarcane.  By Vivian Fernandes).


Leave a Comment

Hit Counter provided by technology news
Web Design MymensinghPremium WordPress ThemesWeb Development

I Do Not Understand Bt Cotton technology; I Know It Works

Y Kallanagouda Patil, 46, of Uppinbetegeri village in Dharwad taluk  owns 52 acres jointly with his three brothers. He holds a diploma in agriculture from a school in Raichur. Patil grows cotton on ten acres, apart from sugarcane, potato, Bengal gram, jowar, tur,moong and vegetables. He uses groundwater to irrigate his fields. The water is drawn from a depth of 280 feet. Electricity is free so he flood irrigates the fields, except the one under banana  where he uses drip irrigation. He does not micro-irrigate cotton because it is closely planted and has to make way for another crop after eight months. This farmer has his cost all worked out. Making quick mental calculations, he estimates the cost of cotton crop at Rs 22,500 an acre and the realization from 17 quintals an acre at Rs 68,000. He had planted Bayer seed. ‘I do not understand technology, he says, all I know is if I use Bt seed there will be no

Pests Snack on Chilly But Not Cotton

F Basavaraj Rudagi, 48, did not grow cotton before 2008. This farmer from Saundhi village in Dharwad district’s Kundogol taluk made a partial switch to Bt cotton as chilly was susceptible to pest attack and yield was declining. From five acres in 2009, Rudagi had fifteen of a forty acre joint farm under cotton this year, when smartindianagriculture  caught up with him in February. He tried out Bayer in a change from Mahyco and Raasi seed. Rudagi says he got 11.5 quintals (100 kg) an acre from his rain-fed crop and at Rs 4,050 a quintal, his realization was a little over Rs 46,000. The cost, he says, is Rs 26,000 an acre, excluding rental earnings had he leased out the land. This does not mesh with the profit he claims he makes, but then he admits to not keeping crop-wise accounts. Rudagi also grows peanuts, coriander, gram, safflower and jowar. There is safety in diversity. And yes he plants pigeon pea or tur around the cotton crop for bollworms to feed on so they are not forced by the survival instinct to develop resistance to Bt protein.  In this sense he is quite a cut apart. Low cotton prices are worrying but what is the alternative?