KOCHI: To sustain the pepper production in the country, with aids to crop management and marketing the produce, a personalised mobile application for pepper farmers - Farmers App - was launched by M K Shanmuga Sundaram, secretary of Spices Board on Wednesday.
“We need a holistic approach combining the research institutes, farmer collectives, industry bodies and government bodies to revive the sector, which then bring about an increase in the production and better price realisation. This Farmers App is a step in the right direction,” said Shanmuga.
Developed by the International Pepper Community (IPC) and All India Spices Exports Forum (AISEF), the app would directly connect the farmers with agri-research institutions, government and its agencies and the national and international markets. “The farmers would get guidance on pepper farm practices, fertiliser recommendations, pest and other diseases identification and resolving them.
The app would also guide the farmer through price movements and assist them in selling their produce,” said Prakash Namboodiri, The app is pre-loaded with a vast library of pictures to help farmers identify the pest or disease problems in the field. After they are identified, the app provides various control measures such as preventive, biological and chemical control and can recommend alternative chemicals for a pest or disease. This is meant to discourage repeated application and also to avoid build-up of the residue of any particular chemical.
Structured to work even without internet connectivity, the app downloads any updates made by AISEF when connected to an active connection. The app has notification features to warn the farmer of an expected adverse climatic condition or to remind of an important activity to be done in the farm. When the farmer does not have internet access, the software can also send SMS alerts.The app, developed by Corbel Business Applications for both Android and Apple, is now available in English, Malayalam, Tamil and Kannada.
The option allows a farmer to keep an account of his day-to-day activities in the field listing details of pesticides applied, irrigation and harvest. The farmer can email this diary to potential buyers. The transparency in cultivation will squarely enhance the confidence to buyers of the produce.
Traders also have a log in option to the app for viewing all the offers posted by the farmers and can select the offers that are of interest to them and then contact the farmers with counter prices or talk to the farmer directly. Farmers, in turn, get to see in their app, the counter prices suggested by traders and also call up the trader to close the sale.
Price discovery has a lot of limitations. In most situations, prices ascertained for a day is the opinion of a few individuals only and does not reflect the actual market situation. AISEF will collect daily prices through a ‘Price Poll’ through the app from a wide range of players in the market. As the base for this poll is large and spread across various profiles, the prices will tend to be more accurate than ever attempted.