National

Coming, an interactive Tamil app for farmers

Swathi Moorthy Chennai | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on August 29, 2017

What if farmers could have an application like Apple’s Siri that answers queries on preventing plant diseases or the right pesticides to use?



It will soon be possible, say officials from the Tamil Virtual Academy (TVA) in Chennai.



The academy is developing an interactive system that can answer questions about paddy, sugarcane and ragi. The product is being developed in collaboration with academic institutions, which they did not want to name.





The application is a result of increasing internet and mobile penetration in rural areas, said the director in charge of development at TVA.



The app can clarify farmers’ doubts on crop diseases, fertilisers and soil fertility based on the information available in the database. The information is sourced from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.



Will such technology be relevant? Very much so, said the TVA official.



According to a recent study, about one-third of the 351 million internet users in the country are from rural areas. Low-cost and easy-to-use mobile devices to access the internet are pushing the growth in rural areas as well.



All these factors play a major role in making technology more relevant among rural communities, the TVA director said.





Language advantage



There are applications such as Kisan Suvidha, IFFCO Kisan Agriculture, Agri App and Agri Market that currently help farmers with clarifications regarding crop insurance, prices and other issues. But having a platform that lets the user speak in the vernacular is expected to be more effective.



It is for this reason that TVA has focussed on crops that are widely produced in the State.



Additionally, the amount of data that needs to be collected would be humongous if more crops were added. “We might not be able to do justice,” the official added.



The app is in final stages of development and will be launched once the State government clears it.











Published on August 29, 2017
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