Scaling up channels for innovative digital service to reach more farmers in Odisha

 

Rice Crop Manager service available at Common Service Centres (CSC)

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture of Odisha , is working together towards increasing rice farmer productivity and incomes through site-specific crop management recommendations of Rice Crop Manager (RCM), a web-based ICT tool.

“In Odisha, 53% of rice farmers are small-scale and marginal, with broad differences in soil types, varieties grown, crop establishment methods, irrigation types, fertilizers and pesticides used, and crop residue management,” said Ranjitha Puskur, senior scientist and outcome theme leader of IRRI based in Odisha. “Many farmers continue to utilize traditional practices learned from their forefathers or peers. In such a context, a blanket recommendation for nutrient application based on area is neither appropriate nor effective.”

The Rice Crop Manager service for Odisha , developed by IRRI and accessible online through laptops, tablets, and smartphones, are introduced to farmers through extension workers. The extension worker will interview the farmer and ask a set of questions on crop establishment and management practices carried out on their plots. With that data, the application will generate best-practices recommendations about doses and timing of the application of fertilizers (N,P, and K in variable quantities), as well as other helpful information.

The interview commonly happens at the doorstep of the farmer, and to date around 100,000 recommendations have been generated in the state of Odisha. Channels for dissemination include extension staff of the Department of Agriculture, and partner NGOs like Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD) and IFFCO-Kisan .

However, for the continued provision of this valuable service to the farmers, the dissemination mechanisms/models need to be improved to be more viable and sustainable. Establishing dedicated service centers with a…