Agri Business

Coffee Board goes digital to help growers

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 04, 2018 Published on September 04, 2018

Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu along with Srivatsa Krishna, Secretary and CEO, Coffee Board, during the launch of the ‘Coffee connect’ app, in New Delhi, on Tuesday   -  Kamal Narang

The Union government is currently assessing the losses suffered by coffee planters due to the heavy rainfall that battered plantations in Wayanad in Kerala and Kodagu in Karnataka.

Once the process is completed, relief will be provided to farmers, Santosh Sarangi, Joint Secretary in the Commerce Ministry, said here on Tuesday.

Sarangi was speaking at a Coffee Board function to launch a slew of mobile applications to improve productivity of coffee plantations in the country and enhance the income of their owners.

Helping planters

The apps were launched by Suresh Prabhu, Commerce and Industries Minister. The app “Coffee Connect”, for instance, will gather all information relating to various coffee plantations in the country, such as geographical location, plant material, age, production and machinery available. The solution will help improve the efficiencies of field functionaries, particularly extension workers, in subsidy disbursement and real-time report generation.

Coffee Krishi Taranga, an IVR-based digital mobile extension service, on the other hand, will provide customised information and services to coffee growers to increase productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability.

“Any coffee planter with a feature phone will be able to access this service, developed jointly by the Coffee Board and Precision Agriculture for Development India Foundation,” Srivatsa Krishna, CEO and Secretary of the Coffee Board, said.

Coffee Krishi Taranga will be pilot tested in Chikmagalur and Hassan districts of Karnataka, covering 30,000 farmers during the first year, and will be extended to growers in remaining parts of the country in a phased manner.

The Coffee Board also launched a Blockchain-based market app that will create a digital platform linking all stakeholders, including growers, processors, exporters and importers. This will help in creating a brand image for Indian coffee through traceability, and reduce growers’ dependency on intermediaries in finding suppliers and exporters.

Besides, there is an app to dispense hyper-local agri-weather information along with early warnings to farmers. This pilot is being tested in 10 panchayats in Karnataka and Kerala.

There also apps that will help in detecting pests and diseases such as white stem borer and leaf rust that affect coffee plants. These technologies will help extension personnel alert coffee farmers to take timely preventive measures.

Published on September 04, 2018
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