Agriculture

Farmer’s Notebook: New Farming App to Help Farmers

A new farming app named ‘FEM@Mobile’, developed by KVK Malappuram, contains information about 100 crops and will help farmers to plan what they cultivate.

The farming app will help farmers plan cultivation better. Credit: CIAT/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

The farming app will help farmers plan cultivation better. Credit: CIAT/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

A group of scientists at the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU), working at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Malappuram have developed a new mobile application named ‘FEM@Mobile’ for agriculture.

The application contains information about 100 crops included in the package recommended by KAU. It is available on the Google play store under the key word KVK Malappuram or FEM@Mobile and can be downloaded for free.

Farmer's Notebook.This is the first time that a mobile application which covers such a large number of crops has been developed. The application is designed in such a way that it takes care of the needs of both small and big farmers.

The specialty of the tool is its simplicity. The well structured navigation path makes information retrieval easy. The content information is presented in small sentences and paragraphs. This makes the information easily understandable.

Further, it is available for free. The size of the application is below 1,000 kb. Hence, users can freely download the application on their smart phone. The application can also be download from the site www.farmextensionmanager.com.

According to P.V. Habeburrahman, professor and head, KVK Malappuram, the mobile application has two advantages. First it acts as a capacity building tool for extension officers. The extension officers can refresh their knowledge at any point of time.

Screenshot of the app on the Google Play app store.

Screenshot of the app on the Google Play app store.

Second, it reduces the cost, time and location-based problems involved in the transfer of technology. This assumes special importance for the small and marginal farmers located in remote places.

For example, a farmer growing five plants of banana and two coconut plants in his homestead can easily calculate the fertiliser details for his plants with the new tool. He simply has to download the application and install it on his mobile. Once installed the application doesn’t require an internet connection.

There are six different categories of information covered under the tool. The broad areas of information are crop cultivation, plant protection, organic inputs, agro chemicals, expert support and contact directory.

The crops are categorised based on broad groups like spices, vegetables, medicinal plants, etc. The crop production aspect covers information on planting, variety, fertiliser, after care and harvest.

The planting operations section provides information on seed material, spacing, planting time, method of planting and more. Information on around 800 recommended varieties are included under the variety details.

Around 300 fertiliser recommendations are presented in straight fertiliser format and in unit area per plant basis. The fertiliser information button also makes clear how much fertiliser is to be applied, when and how.

The after care button has information on weeding, irrigation and other intercultural operations. The fifth button is on harvest and storage. Information on the crop duration, maturity indicators, harvesting and what is to be done immediately after the harvest can be found here.

The plant protection part covers symptoms and control methods for over 500 insect pests, 700 plant diseases and 1,100 deficiency disorders. The control aspect gives equal emphasis on organic and inorganic methods.

This is followed by detailed information on other topics like different organic and inorganic fertilisers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. It is followed by the expert support link that helps to send field photos directly to the scientists. This is followed by a contact directory.

Given the popularity of smart phones, the application makes information more accessible. People can retrieve the needed agricultural information through their phone making the role of extension agencies easier.

One of the major problems associated with communication is message distortion in the communication channel. The mobile application solves this problem as it carries the embedded message correctly to the end user.

For more details contact Dr Sunil V.G., assistant professor (extension), KVK Malappuram, Kerala, email: sunil.vg@kau.in, mobile: 9446058252.