How A Digital Platform Ensured Good Harvest For Odisha Farmer
Khageswar Dalai, 46, from Balimeda village under Basudevpur block of Bhadrak district and his family of five is totally dependent upon paddy and vegetable cultivation. His village is the most remote in the coastal region of Basudevpur Block, around 35 km from Bhadrak. Communication, transport, irrigation, seasonal migration and lack of income opportunities are the major challenges here.
He owns seven acres of land on which he does paddy farming during the Kharif season and during Rabi, he grows vegetables like ladies finger, tomato, bitter gourd, cauliflower, brinjal in 50 decimals of land area.
Being a remote area, hardly any officials or experts visit his village to sensitise farmers on crop cultivation and other livelihood issues.
Dalai’s life changed for the better four years back with the help of Reliance Foundation’s mobile-based audio advisory. They send him a crop advisory every Wednesday and Saturday with the content source of the Regional Research Technology Transfer Station (RRTTS), Ranital.
“They send reminders and alerts on my mobile through voice SMS suitable for my standing crop – alert and advisory on weather, varietal selection, seed treatment, weed management, nutrient and disease management. I am very happy to receive this advisory which I believe very accurate and useful for me,” said Dalai.
“I used to find it very difficult to manage weeds in the paddy field. Earlier, I used to go to a pesticide dealer for weedicide. His medicines never worked. Then I asked the RF experts on their helpline no 1800-419-8800. With the tips I got from them, I was able to manage all types of weeds that grow at different times and different stages of paddy. Now I take preventive and curative measures for the cultivation process according to the advice given by RF experts. I listen to their voice message, call on the helpline no and even participate in the audio-conference of RF. I have been able to control disease and pest attack, including fruit and shoot borer and wilt of brinjal,” added the farmer.
“The good thing about RF’s expertise is that they give an accurate and timely solution, just like the feeding schedule of an infant. Since it is a free service, I promoted the RF Helpline no 1800-419-8800 among many farmers for knowledge support of their cultivation practice. Many farmers have benefitted from their advice. Many times, I help farmers by going to their field and asks experts of RF for a solution from there itself. They also suggest alternative medicines in case a particular medicine is not available in the market. They never seem to get tired of giving solutions,” Dalai said.
“With the support of RF, last Kharif season, I got 200 packets of paddy (140 quintals) and am expecting a good income. Before my association with RF ,I used to get around 110 quintals of paddy. Last Rabi season I got a profit of Rs. 40000 from vegetable cultivation. Now I am not only increasing my crop harvest, reducing crop loss from pest and disease attacks and cost of cultivation but also taking the right decisions to better manage my agricultural activity,” Dalai exulted.