In a move aimed to help planners and agriculturists, the Commissionerate of Agriculture is putting final touches to a web portal that will track the production of fruits and vegetables in the state. Claimed to be first of its kind, the portal will have real-time information about the area under cultivation of fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices in the state.
Prakash Adgale, Joint Director, Horticulture, said this portal would have real-time data about production. “At present, field staff are being trained to use the software so that they can upload data from their mobile phones. The data will be sent to the central server, and then to the web portal,” he said.
Concrete data about production of vegetables has been a grey area given the short time required for the production. Adgale pointed out how, in the span of two-three months, the process of sowing to cultivation of the product gets completed. By the time the physical survey gets overs, often the vegetable crop is harvested and thus the surveys do not always bring out the real picture about vegetable production.
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In the state, on an average, over 5 lakh hectares of land is under fruits and vegetables. The districts of Pune, Nagpur, Thane, Nashik, Ahmednagar and Amravati are some of the important areas in terms of vegetable cultivation in the state. The online system will act as an important data bank for formation of clusters. “By nature of habit, farmers take up cultivation of the same vegetable in large areas. We are talking about diversification of crops and this data will help us come up with production plans for the farmers’ clusters,” said Adgale.
With the state government planning to de-list the sale of fruits and vegetables from the agricultural produce market committees, this move aims to strengthen the farmers who wish to get into direct marketing. Once the data is collated, clusters would be identified and special production plans with diversification of crops suggested. At present, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) is training the staff of the department, and the online portal is expected to be launched during the upcoming Kharif season.