“Farmers need to be aware of problems in four to four major areas such as water, seed, fertilizer and pest requirements as well as timely data and interventions that have proven to help increase productivity and crop yields,” said Sandeep Malhotra, IFFCO’s CEO. About 1,500 farmers were covered under a five-crop testing project – wheat, paddy, soyabean, cotton and ginger – in certain districts of Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, he said.
“We established a weather station in those areas, with funding from the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) and Nabard and ground sensors. That has helped us to monitor soil conditions including nutrients and moisture and plant growth using artificial intelligence. We also tested the technical advice on physical verification and it was 90-95% accurate, ”Malhotra told FE.
IFFCO Kisan’s technical intervention also allowed institutional buyers such as the food industry and exporters to monitor the quality of the QR code-tested product, he said, adding that this helped to increase crop prices. As country retailers need goods, which meet certain consumer countries’ standards and use the right pesticides within a certain limit (quantity of residues or MRL), the addition of a tracking feature has helped them know details such as where the crop was grown, what pesticides were used and how many. times, etc.
Vishal Tiwari, a farmer in the Jabalpur region of Madhya Pradesh, even wants to pay for consulting services as he feels it is increasing the yield of drey and wheat which has reduced his planting costs by 20%. Tiwari manages to cultivate 40-45 hectares, growing paddy, wheat, moong and vegetables. He said although the consultation provided by IFFCO Kisan was helpful, it would have been much better if it had connected a farmer like him with the clients of the facilities.
However, Satyendra Sahu, also from Jabalpur, did not receive the assistance of IFFCO Kisan services. “What his representative said was always followed by me as I continue to visit the nearest agricultural university regularly,” said Sahu, who grows paddy and wheat on 35 hectares. Like Tiwari, he also seeks marketing assistance as he has been unable to find organic paddy buyers starting on 3 hectares four years ago.
Malhotra said computer-generated and mapping of associated farms and farmers for seamless information would put farmers ‘producers’ organizations (FPOs) ready for the coming ecosystem. His company has started collaborating with FPOs and even buying products as it has dedicated us to making spices under the ‘Swarnahar’ brand.