Agri Business

Now, to nip frauds in the bud, coconut seedlings get QR codes

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on January 08, 2020 Published on January 08, 2020

A coconut seedling with a QR code label being distributed by CPCRI at Kayamkulam in Kerala   -  SPECIAL_ARRANGEMENT

Farmers scanning the codes will instantly get details on the origin and variety of seedlings

Many a time farmers are duped by people selling spurious seedlings of various crops. But what if the seller offers a facility where scanning a QR (quick response) code instantly gives the farmer information about the seedlings he purchased?

The Kasaragod-based Central Plantation Crops Research Institute’s (CPCRI) Regional Station at Kayamkulam in Kerala is doing just that with coconut seedlings.

On scanning the QR code on the labels on individual coconut seedlings supplied by CPCRI’s Kayamkulam unit, the farmer can get specific information about the source and variety.

Recalling the circumstances that led to the introduction of QR code labels for coconut seedlings, Regi Jacob Thomas, Principal Scientist at CPCRI Kayamkulam, told BusinessLine that some farmers approached the Kayamkulam station with a grouse in 2016. They told the officials that the seedlings supplied to them by a private agency did not meet the standards of the CPCRI’s varieties, though the seller had claimed that the planting materials were from CPCRI. The seller had sold them seedlings with a CPCRI label and had duped the farmers.

Quality assurance

Following this, the regional station took the initiative to distribute the coconut seedlings with QR code labels as a quality checking mechanism.

In order to avoid fraudulent QR code labelling, an alphanumeric password with a QR code has been introduced. He said the password-protected QR code allows only authorised persons, such as those who buy the seedlings, to get information about the seedling.

While the QR code gives information about the variety, origin and other details, the password security feature informs the farmer about the genuineness of the seedling.

The password will enable the farmer to detect duplication of QR code labels by unauthorised agencies.

Muralidharan K, Principal Scientist at CPCRI, Kasaragod, said this security feature is critical at a time when spurious seedlings are being sold by vendors who claim to be distributors of planting materials of government agencies.

25,000 distributed

Thomas said that until now around 25,000 coconut seedlings have been distributed with QR code labels.

Muralidharan said BNS Murthy, the Horticulture Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, New Delhi, visited CPCRI recently, and appreciated the initiatives of the institute in introducing QR code labels for coconut seedlings. The government is thinking of introducing this to other perennial crops, he added.

He said CPCRI is now working on introducing traceability of the seedlings down to the mother palm.

Thomas said the QR code affixed labels can be used for the purpose of tagging or labelling of grafts, buds, tissue-cultured or vegetatively-produced planting materials in plantation crops, fruit crops and commercial crops.

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Published on January 08, 2020
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