MahaRain — the App developed in-house by the state agriculture department, is all set to provide over one crore farmers the rainfall data.
The App, which is to be published soon on the Google Play Store, gives the farmer access to information on rainfall at the touch of a finger allowing them chalk out their cropping cycle. This is one of the many steps which the department has taken to ensure better planning and better data is generated from the fields, officials said.
While the agriculture department maintains circle level data of rainfall on its website, its dissemination to the grassroot level has not happened.
Uday Deshmukh, Chief Statistician of the Agriculture Department, said the App will allow farmers to access the data seamlessly. The department has more than 2,000 rain gauges which allows for rain measurement across the state. While various players do provide this data over subscribed SMSes, the App will make the process easier and more accessible.
Meanwhile, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), the flagship program of the central government, has promoted further use of technology in agriculture. Now, agriculture officers will use GPS technology to conduct surveys and prepare reports about the health and position of crops.
One of the most critical exercises of an agriculture officer is to determine the crop yield. These reports are used both by insurance companies as well as government agencies for planning and settling of insurance claims.
As PMFBY is an insurance policy against crop losses, information regarding crop health and expected yield rise of great importance. Instead of the traditional method of relying on visual inspection to determine the yield, the agriculture department has decided to use GPS technology and an App to feed data into the central server in Pune.
Deshmukh said the App can be operated both offline and online. “It will allow the agriculture officer to Geo tag a field. Also, as the App would be on the smartphone of the officer, a picture can be taken of the filed conditions which will be tagged through GPS. This data would then be uploaded to the centre server,” he said.
Once collated, this data would be analysed to give the expected yield of the crop for the season. Other than insurance claims, this data can be used for deriving various policy related interventions later on.
Deshmukh said that master trainers training for all the 34 districts have been trained and a similar training will be held on September 19 also. At present, this App is being used to collect information about the ongoing harvest of black gram and green gram.