A friend of the farmers

At a time when climate change has impacted agricultural output across the world, decoding soil health has gained prominence and importance.

Published: 30th October 2022 04:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th October 2022 04:57 AM   |  A+A-

Demonstration of the application and machine at an exhibition held at the Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR) situated in Rajendranagar

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: At a time when climate change has impacted agricultural output across the world, decoding soil health has gained prominence and importance. Many say that it has become as important for agriculture as medical science is for human beings. However, despite its overarching need, the government has been unable to make them available for tillers across the country. To address this, a startup, Krishitantra, has developed ‘Krishi- RASTAA (rapid automated soil testing agronomy advisory) —  a portable and automated soil analysis system that has been designed to provide rapid results of soil nutrients with customised agronomy within 40 minutes.

All that the farmer or technician needs to do is to collect a soil sample and pass it through the chemicals, which are placed in the machine. The parameters are automatically sent to a mobile application with all the input data to test macronutrients — such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, electrical conductivity and pH level — micronutrients — such as sulphur, boron, zinc, iron, copper and organic carbon — and microbes like MB carbon (MBC) in the soil sample.

The information, when passed to the Krishitantra mobile application, gets analysed automatically based on the inputs. Through cloud services and API integration, the farmer or technician gets the soil test report within 40 minutes on the app. The values of the 11 parameters with ideal range and nutrient recommendations are given in the soil test report, which can be used for as many as 100 types of crops, for which the nutrient and fertiliser recommendations are instantly provided.

The test reports can be shared via WhatsApp and SMS, while a physical copy of the report can also be printed out. As of now, the reports are available in English, Hindi, Telugu and Kannada, while work is going on to add more languages in the near future.

The machine can be operated by anyone, who knows how to operate a cell phone and can follow the procedure to do the testing. In a single test, a sample of the soil from a four-acre land can be tested. However, since each machine costs about `1.2 lakh, it can be used by Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO), progressive farmers and also by dealers of fertilisers who can recommend the right amount of fertilisers to the farmers, Krishna, a representative of Krishitantra, tells TNIE.

“It has the potential to create a new livelihood opportunity for educated youth who can purchase this machine and do soil testing analysis as technicians on a custom hiring basis for farmers,” he adds.The machine and the application were developed with the support of Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), Indian Institute of Rice Research (IIRR), NABARD and other partners. Krishitantra has won the ‘emerging agri innovators award’ at the FICCI Agri Startup Awards 2021, and also was the winner of ‘the most promising IoT Startup-Scalability category’ at the IOTMATRIX 2020 Awards.



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