Agriculture World

Digital Agriculture: WhatsApp is Solving Farmers Agriculture Problems & Giving them Tips on Natural Farming

Tooba Maher
Tooba Maher

The state Agriculture Department of Himachal Pradesh has seen the lockdown period as an opportunity to get involved with the growers through the digital technology. A total of 5,676 farmers have been enrolled with WhatsApp, the communication platform used by the department to solve their problems & issues advisories to them from time to time.

Prakritik Kheti Khushal Kissan Yojana Executive Director Rajeshwar Singh Chandel told IANS, "Ninety-four WhatsApp agricultural groups have been activated at the block, district and state levels. Agriculture officials are also reaching out to the farmers by video calling to resolve their issues and giving them tip on natural farming."

Himachal Pradesh is the only state in the country whose 89.96% population, according to Census 2011, lives in rural areas. Agriculture and horticulture give direct employment to about 69% of the total workforce.

Chandel said 5,676 farmers have been linked to these groups so far. From them, 80 WhatsApp groups have been formed at the block level, 12 at the district level and 2 at the state level. There are 3 officers in each block, while the Project Director & subject matter specialists at district level are in constant contact with the farmers by phone during the lockdown.

He added that every possible solution to the problems of the farmers amid the lockdown is being provided online. The farmers are being advised from time to time regarding crop protection by adopting natural ways through WhatsApp groups.

Till now, 54,000 farmers in the state have joined agriculturist Subhash Palekar's zero budget natural farming technique under the Prakritik Kheti Khushal Kissan. Under it, the farmers are growing vegetables & other crops through natural farming both individually and by forming self-help groups.

Over 70,000 farmers have been trained for natural farming. Presently, natural farming is being done on 2,151 hectares in the state. With an objective to expand its scope by 2022, agro-models have been established in 2,921 panchayats. A total of 312 resource stores have been established to enable farmers to get ready inputs at cheap prices.

Adding to it, special literature has also been prepared in easy and simple language to allow farmers to understand the technique of natural farming. For attracting farmers, success stories of farmers, who have adopted natural farming, are also being published.

Source: Livemint

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