Chennai: Can the issue of inflation in the prices of tomatoes and onions be solved through Digital India project? “It can be solved if farmers are connected both physically and digitally,” said Thiruchelvam Ramakrishnan, an ICT expert, originator and project director, Mission IT-Rural.
Last month, as the price of tomatoes touched a high of Rs 120 per kg the lack of rain was cited as the reason for low production and high price.
A few months ago it was tur dal and the government suddenly woke up to the situation and hurriedly imported pulses from other countries.
“If the price is high then farmers cultivate tomatoes on a massive scale, but in the process bring the prices down as it would be not profitable for them to even transport to the markets,” Thiruchelvam said.
“We have to collect the live crop variety details sown in the particular area. In case, there are shortfalls in supply we know when the particular crop will reach the market. Based on that we can plan and avoid the price inflation,” he said.
“If we set up the information and process management centre in every village under the Digital India project, the crop life cycle management can be optimised. Instead of giving them details through mobile apps, the government should interact with the farmers through these centres and help them to have a balanced production and enhanced price for their production,” he added.
He and his team have been working in the domain of ICT for agriculture for last 15 years. These centres have already been tested at the ground level in Pulivendula mandal in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh. They were provided with computers and internet connection.
The project was aimed at using ICT for addressing farmers’ problems and helping them in the selection of right kind of crop, organising quality inputs, effective crop protection measurement and remunerative price for agriculture produce.
“These centres not only control price spikes, but also help farmers to be professional in farming and marketing their products,” he said.
“Farmers need to be empowered with live crop variety production data before starting their cultivation. This will help them know how many farmers in how many acres have sown a particular variety of the crop and when it is expected to give the yield. So, they can avoid the mass production of goods at one time which is when they face a price crash,” he added.
These centres can also give a forecast of demand and manage agricultural machinery such as tractors for farming purposes.