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How useful are Mobile Apps to Farmers?

 In the rapidly expanding Digital Ecosystem, the mobile apps has surfaced and attained great importance. The Mobile Apps were introduced to support businesses. For the advancement of the agriculture sector, mobile apps were introduced – to help the farming community.  With the introduction of digital India and smart agriculture system, there is a race in the industry for introducing hi-tech Mobile Apps.
Krishi Jagran has also introduced a Mobile App for agriculture related News in Hindi, English and Malayalam, duly launched by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh. 
Government spends huge amount in extending crop insurance to farmers. Due to administrative and technical reasons, much of the information related to crop insurance does not reach farmers on time hence they are not able to take advantage of the schemes. This mobile app provides complete details of crop insurance.
Farmers also get information related to crop insurance cover available, and can calculate the premium for notified crops based on area, coverage amount and loan amount. They can get details of normal sum insured, extended sum insured and subsidy information of any notified crop in any notified area. 

The AgriMarket app, has been developed with an aim to keep farmers abreast of crop prices and discourage them to go for distress sale. Farmers can get information related to prices of crops in markets within 50km of their own device location using the AgriMarket Mobile App. This app automatically captures the location of the farmers using mobile GPS and fetches the market prices of crops in markets which fall within the range of 50km. There is another option to get price of any market and any crop in case farmers do not want to use GPS feature. 
Farmers often struggle for basic information like weather updates, crop prices and expert advice, ending up often relying on hearsays. A new mobile app—Kisan Suvidha—launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will prove helpful to the farmers in this regard but they must have a smart phone. The app is likely to have many takers as India is second largest smart phone market in the world with 87 million mobile Internet users in rural areas.
The app has a simple interface and provides information on five critical parameters—weather, input dealers, market price, plant protection and expert advisories. An additional tab directly connects the farmer with the Kisan call centre where technical graduates answer their queries. 

The design is very simple and neat. 

How to go ahead with the Mobile App:

To begin with, a farmer has to register his mobile number,

Then choose a language—Hindi and English

Enter details of the state, district and block or sub-district. 

A tap on the weather button shows details of temperature, humidity, wind and rainfall for the current day and the forecast for the next five days. Additionally, a farmer can get extreme weather alerts like hailstorms or unseasonal rains—a useful tool for farmers. For instance, after harvesting, farmers often leave their cereal crops in the field to dry. Prior information on freak rains can help them save their crop.

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The market price button shows latest price of all crops traded in a mandi or registered agriculture market of the particular district a farmer belongs to. Additionally, he gets to see the maximum price in the district, state and the entire country on a particular day.
For small farmers, who often sell their produce to local traders, this could be an important bargaining tool. Also, farmers can decide on whether to take their produce to the mandi or delay it based on information on current prices. 
Moreover, the plant protection button gives pest, weed and disease-related information as well as management practices for each stage of crop development—from nursery to harvesting. The agro advisory section shows messages for farmers from district agriculture officials and state universities in their local language. These primarily deal with crop management practices based on the prevailing situation. Farmers can also access names and mobile numbers of input dealers selling pesticides, seeds, fertilizer and machinery. This is a handy tool—farmers can now make a call and compare prices and availability before they actually head out to purchase these inputs.

The agriculture ministry, which developed the app, describes it as an “omnibus for quick and relevant information”. Adding more local languages will take it a step further.  In the last two years, the government has launched nine agricultural apps, including the national agriculture market - eNAM, an electronic trading platform that connects different mandis, markets for farm produce. Its Kisan Suvidha is an app that promises to provide farmers with information on weather conditions, dealers, market prices and plant protection. The Pusa Krishi app gives farmers information on crops. 

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Some other apps are the MKisan Application, Shetkari Masik app, Farm-o-pedia, Crop insurance mobile app, AgriMarket and Bhuvan Hailstorm App. 
But farming apps are almost useless in many parts of Uttar Pradesh, where only 37 percent households have electricity connections, compared to 67 percent nationwide.  According to the villagers many people are forced to keep their mobile phones switched off for long hours to save the battery because of recurring power failures. 



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