BHUBANESWAR: For lakhs of farmers in the State, a YouTube channel ‘E-Farming Odisha’ started by three friends has become a one-stop solution for crop issues. Chandan Kumar Manna, Sandip Kumar Das and Prashanta Kumar Senapati started the channel in 2018 to empower farmers with knowledge and techniques for generating maximum output from agriculture. Today, the channel has 6.25 lakh subscribers.
While Manna and Das hail from Jaleswar, Senapati belongs to Baripada. The idea to start the channel stemmed from the fact there are not many dedicated Odia web channels on farming. “Once when we were browsing YouTube for some farming solutions, we came across many videos on technology but none on farming in Odia language. This is why we decided to launch the ‘E-Farming’ channel to share information related to agricultural technology and which type of farming can yield better monetary benefits,” said Manna, a software engineer in Bengaluru.
One of the latest updates on the channel is growing apples in Odisha. The three have even distributed 10,000 HRMN-99 variety of apple plants that can grow in warm climatic conditions to farmers in the State. “This is an experiment that we started in 2020 after visiting the farm of one Hariman Sharma in Himachal Pradesh to know more about apple varieties that can be grown in our State,” said Das, a school teacher at Jaleswar.
Every week, they upload at least four videos to the channel which are mostly interviews of progressive and experienced farmers on various aspects of agriculture. “We have noticed that youths in the age group of 25 to 35 view our videos as they are open to adopting new technology and different types of farming,” said Senapati who assists his father in cultivating vegetables at their farmhouse in Mayurbhanj district’s Bankisole.
In the videos, they also share the phone numbers and locations of the farmers who are interviewed so that anyone can contact them for further inquiries. While Manna uploads the videos and looks into the technical aspects of the channel, his friends Das and Senapati also organise training camps for farmers in their areas.
Manna said around 10,000 people who returned to Odisha during the pandemic, started mushroom farming after learning the process from their channel. Many others have also taken up livestock and cattle farming.
Apart from the YouTube channel, the three youths are also operating a mobile application called e-farming since 2019, where farmers from across the country can sell their produce. Over 50,000 farmers are using the app free of cost every month.
The app has a voice calling facility and is Google Maps-enabled to help buyers pick up local produce from the farmer's doorsteps. Last year, they also started another website AgroKart where farmers can buy farming tools, seeds, pesticides and other items.
Three friends have been operating an YouTube channel ‘E-Farming Odisha’ where they are providing farming solutions to over 6.25 lakh subscribers. Asish Mehta speaks to the founders about the initiative