Bhubaneswar: The Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment (A&FE) department launched a mobile app, Wednesday, to generate instant reports on the pest situation in Odisha. The mobile app will also give instant reports on the pest situation and automated release of advisory.
Farmers can take a real time photo of the pest situation and directly send it to experts through the mobile app and instantly get advisory regarding control measures.
Agriculture crops suffer 50-60 per cent loss due to pest attacks in Odisha. Major crops like paddy, Arhar, Green Gram, Black Gram, Groundnut, Sunflower, Mustard and Sugarcane are considered vital for the economy. In Odisha about 65-70 per cent of the population directly or indirectly depend on agriculture for livelihood.
Agriculture Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo, Principal Secretary of A&FE Saurabh Garg and Gagan Kumar Dhal, Agriculture Production Commissioner, were present at the launch of the mobile app. A training camp for master trainers on the safe use of pesticides was also held.
In 2010, Odisha became the second state in the country after Maharashtra to have a web-based pest surveillance project which was appreciated at the national level.
Pest surveillance is an age old practice. Earlier, farmers used to check crops every day for insect/disease attacks. But due to lack of scientific knowledge and availability of proper inputs, they used local materials as preventive measures.
After the pest attack of 2009, the A&FE department decided to make the surveillance procedure web-based. The pilot project of e-pest surveillance and pest management was launched in Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Kalahandi and Koraput districts in Kharif season of 2010 for paddy.
The NCIPM, NRRI, OUAT and the Agriculture Department jointly prepared a software for uploading and transmission of pest surveillance data.
In spite of all efforts, there was a Brown Plant Hopper (BPH) attack on Kharif paddy in 2017 which reduced yields by 30 per cent in around one lakh hectares. The change in climate, faulty practices by farmers and the gap in pest surveillance could have been the reasons for the loss, experts said.
After this incident, experts of the Agriculture Department, OUAT, NRRI and CIPMC suggested the revolutionary change in the pest surveillance pattern.