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Saturday, December 09, 2023
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‘Appy’ farmers are happy farmers

With increasing mobile phone penetration in the rural areas, the government is now tapping into mobile accessible technology to offer cutting edge solutions to farmers problems. Two such new apps, designed to offer crop insurance and best possible prices for farm produce, were launched by the agriculture ministry

A mobile Crop Insurance app, designed to help farmers buy insurance as well as calculate the insurance premium for notified crops, was launched by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohna Singh. The app will also enable farmers to calculate the coverage amount and loan amount in case of a loans.

The app was necessitated due to the huge amounts spent by the central government in extending crop insurance to the farmers so as to provide them relief in case of unforeseen eventualities. Crop insurance is extended by both public and private insurance companies.

States/UTs nominate insurance companies to extend insurance cover for different crops in districts/blocks.  There is also a specific period during which farmers can avail this facility.  Due to administrative and technical reasons much of this information is not able to reach to the farmers well in time to take advantage of these schemes.

This Crop Insurance mobile app can be used to find out complete details about cover available but also to calculate the Insurance Premium for notified crops based on area, coverage amount and loan amount in case of a loanee farmer. It 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.

Another app, the AgriMarket Mobile , which can be used by the farmers to get the market prices of crops in the mandi within 50 km radius of the device and other mandis in the country was also launched simultaneously.

Farmers sometimes have to suffer losses due to distress sales in absence of correct market information. This app is designed to help farmers take an informed decision based on information about the ongoing prices in markets around them as to which market they should take their produce for selling.

The app has been developed with an aim to keep them abreast with crop prices around them. AgriMarket Mobile App can be used to get the market price of crops within 50 km of the device’s location. This app automatically captures the location of person using mobile GPS and fetches the market prices of crops in those markets which fall within the range of 50 km. There is another option to get price of any market and any crop in case person does not want to use GPS location. The prevailing prices are taken from the Agmarknet portal.

Both these apps have been developed in house by IT Division of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare and can be downloaded from Google Store or mKisan portal (http://mkisan.gov.in/Default.aspx).  The apps are also available in regional languages, by providing the names of few keywords in their language.  The application will be prepared in that language and uploaded on the play store.

“It has been constant endeavour of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare to make available all relevant and timely information to the farmers and other stake holders so as to create a conducive environment for raising farm productivity and income to global levels. It is in this direction that an ambitious project known as National e-Governance Plan in agriculture (NeGP-A) has been launched,” said Singh.

Besides providing hardware up to the block levels offices in all States and UTs, the project also includes development of 12 clusters of services, with over 65 discrete websites/applications.

Of these, 36 applications and web portals have already been rolled out and are in use by different departments and other stakeholders across Centre, States and UTs.

Some of these are mKisan, Farmers Portal, Insurance Portal, Nowcast, Plant Quarantine Information Systems, revamped Agmarknet and Kisan Knowledge Management System. The project also includes making these services available through multiple delivery channels like web based, through Touch Screen Kiosks, SMS, USSD and mobiles.

While Internet penetration in rural India is still abysmally low, the number of mobiles with the farmers and in the hinterland is rising at a very fast pace. According to the minister, all existing and future services offered by the agriculture ministry will be available through mobile platforms.

“Today we have approximately 2 crore farmers registered with us for receiving SMS advisories which are being sent by officers and scientists across all States/UTs, ICAR, IMD and Agriculture Universities,” informed Singh.