Authors: Chandan Kumar Rai1, Arti2 and Sanjeev Kumar1
1Ph.D. Scholar, Dairy Extension Division, NDRI, Karnal-132001, Haryana, India
2Ph.D. Scholar, DES&M, NDRI, Karnal-132001, Haryana, India

The agricultural sector continues to be an important sector of Indian economy. The Agriculture sector is gearing itself to make optimal use of the new information and communication technologies. At the Government of India level, a number of important initiatives have been taken to provide IT Hardware and connectivity to all organizations involved in Agricultural Education, research, development and dissemination. ICTs or Information and Communication Technologies are emerging as an important tool for the development of societies and have driving forces in the economies world-wide. Farmers often struggle for basic information like weather updates, crop prices and expert advice, ending up often relying on hearsays. A new mobile app “Kisan Suvidha” launched at march 21, 2016 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will prove helpful for farmers in this regard but they must own a smartphone. The app is likely to have many takers as India is second largest smartphone market in the world with 87 million mobile Internet users in rural areas. Keeping its targets audience in mind, the app is designed with user-friendly interface consisting of important parameters to provide info on. The farmers can get critical and definite information on the weather forecast, dealers detail to sell to, the market price of a commodity in nearest area, information to protect plants from pest, weed and diseases, and expert advice from farm experts. Besides, farmers can directly get in touch with Kisan call centre where technical graduates answer their queries.

The features "Kisan Suvidha" mobile app

  • To begin with, a farmer has to register the mobile number, choose a language—at present limited to Hindi and English—and enter details of the state, district and block or sub-district.
  • A tap on the weather button shows details of temperature, humidity, wind and rainfall for the current day and the forecast for the next five days. Additionally, a farmer can get extreme weather alerts like hailstorms or unseasonal rains—a useful tool for farmers. For instance, after harvesting, farmers often leave their cereal crops in the field to dry. Prior information on freak rains can help them save their crop.
  • The market price button shows latest price of all crops traded in amandi or registered agriculture market of the particular district a farmer belongs to. Additionally, he gets to see the maximum price in the district, state and the entire country on a particular day. For small farmers, who often sell their produce to local traders, this could be an important bargaining tool. Also, farmers can decide on whether to take their produce to the mandi or delay it based on information on current prices. Other information points are useful too.
  • The plant protection button gives pest, weed and disease-related information as well as management practices for each stage of crop development—from nursery to harvesting. A farmer from, say Ganganagar district in Rajasthan, can scan the information for all major crops grown in the district like mustard, wheat and vegetables.
  • The agro advisory section shows messages for farmers from district agriculture officials and state universities in their local language. These primarily deal with crop management practices based on the prevailing situation, say a remedy for a widespread pest attack or imminent showers. Farmers can also access names and mobile numbers of input dealers selling pesticides, seeds, fertiliser and machinery.
  • This is a handy tool—farmers can now make a call and compare prices and availability before they actually head out to purchase these inputs. The agriculture ministry, which developed the app, describes it as an “omnibus for quick and relevant information”. Adding more local languages will take it a step further.
Some other mobile app related to Agriculture: The android apps for farmers can be downloaded from the official website or from the Google play store. Below is the list of all android apps t for farmers

Pusa Krishi application: Pusa Krishi app help farmers know the various types of crops and information about those.

MKisan android Application: The android app allows farmers and all other stakeholders to obtain advisories and information being sent by experts and government officials at different levels through mkisan portal without registering on the portal.

Shetkari Masik Android App: The app can be used to download Shetkari Masik magazine and can be read without internet connectivity. “Shetkari Masik” is one of the most popular monthly magazines in the Agriculture sector, under publication since 1965. It is published by Department of Agriculture, Maharashtra.

Farm-o-pedia App: The app is targeted for rural Gujarat and is useful for farmers and anyone involved in agriculture business. The app can be used to get suitable crops as per soil and season, crop wise information, check whether in your area and manage your cattle.

Crop Insurance Android App: Crop insurance mobile app can be downloaded and used to calculate the Insurance Premium for notified crops based on area, coverage amount and loan amount in case of loanee farmer. The app can also be used to get details of normal sum insured, extended sum insured, premium details and subsidy information of any notified crop in any notified area.

AgriMarket: AgriMarket mobile app can be used to get the market price of crops in the markets within 50 km of the device’s location capture by GPS. There is another option to get price of any market and any crop in case person does not want to use GPS location.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am currently pursuing PhD (Agricultural Extension Education) at ICAR-NATIONAL DAIRY RESEARCH INSTITUTE, Karnal-132001, Haryana (INDIA).