Bhubaneswar: Sarat Mistri, a farmer from Kalatunga village under Mahakalapada block of Odisha’s Kendrapara district, was struggling to earn enough from farming because of lack of proper guidance.
A class X drop-out, Sarat was not aware of the key agricultural practices like varietal selection, seed treatment, integrated nutrient management, pest and disease management and crop management during adverse weather. Consequently, he suffered huge losses.
The improper methods of controlling crop pests and diseases, suggested by local pesticide dealers, led to crop loss and less production — until Sarat came across Reliance Foundation’s virtual advisory programmes.
The interactive programmes organized by Reliance Foundation, including audio/video conferences, connect farmers with agricultural experts.
These experts provide information about best agricultural practices that help rural farmers increase their crop yield.
During the last Kharif season, brown planthopper pest had attacked Sarat’s paddy crops. The pest had spread to 1 acre of his paddy field within a short span of time.
Sarat then reached out to the Reliance Foundation expert via an audio conference. The expert advised him to make alleys with a gap of 1 meter in order to drain out water from the field and then irrigate the land again, and spray pesticides at the roots of the crops.
Sarat followed the advice and it helped him save his crop from the brown planthopper pests. He saved nearly 10 quintals of paddy with right guidance at the right time.
During Fani and Amphan cyclones, Reliance Foundation had disseminated virtual advisories well in advance, which helped the farmers to speed up harvesting and storing the harvested crop in a safe place.
In April this year, Reliance Foundation helped farmers connect with experts from Department of Agriculture and Krishi Vigyan Kendra, who sensitized them about precautionary measures to be taken during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sarat has been using Reliance Foundation’s toll free helpline number 1800-419-8800 since last two years to address his crop issues.
At present, Sarat is growing paddy crops on nearly 5 acres of land, vegetables including brinjal and bitter gourd on 0.5 acres of land, and practicing aquaculture farming on 1 acre of area.