At the IUPAC 2019 Next Generation Agri Summit, I would like to propose a project “Empowering Agriculture Extension Officers and Students for Plant Protection Measures through ICT based tools and strategies in Nepal”.
Digo Krishi is online cloud based software infrastructure through which extension advisory services, good agriculture practices, technologies and practices are disseminated. Real time monitoring and management of farmers is important to increase efficiency and productivity. Disease and pest disorders are often the result of wrong practice, wrong inputs and wrong activities. The right amount of fertilizer, optimum application of pesticide, fungicides and plant protection measures in the right place at the right time will reduce disease and insect infestations. This project will empower agriculture extension officers and agricultural students working in different parts of Nepal to help farmers be aware and monitor for good agricultural practices.
For the successful completion of this proposed idea, our “Digo Krishi” team includes Susanta Poudel, Shivaahari Devkota, Aayush Raj Dhakal, Rabin Thapa, Bishal Maharata and Krishna Babu Bhattarai. Mr. Susanta Poudel is the lead developer of DreamWork Solution (ICT based institution providing ICT services in agriculture sector in Nepal). Mr. Devkota is the studying MSc. Agribusiness, 1st semester in Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU). The remaining members are undergraduate agriculture students in AFU. Furthermore, all team members are working as executive team members in Digo Krishi (www.digokrishi.com) , funded by ACIAR in partnership with CIMMYT, CGIAR, NARC, DoA Nepal for Conservation Agriculture. All team members are handling different ICT based projects in DreamWork Solution (www.dreamworknetwork.com).
Hundreds of programs and scientific studies have been rolled out for Nepalese farmers’ welfare. If we sum up the beneficiaries all together that will score more than whole Nepalese population. With so many attempts of taking bits and pieces for farmer’s’ welfare, we are realizing the need of innovative ICT based approaches that actually improve the quality of life of Nepalese farmers.
Study reveals that good agriculture practices applied at the right time in the right place and in the right way will reduce disease pest infestation and also increase the yield of crops. Dissemination of agriculture information and data toward the farmers is needed, however extension officers and agriculture students need to be empowered. In case of Nepal, the three agriculture wings; research, education and extension are working separately and need better integration. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is the only one solution that can integrate all the wings and provide the best solution for overall management. Recently developed cloud based software can lead to the massive dissemination and distribution.
This proposal proposes to empower extension officers and agriculture students through the Digo Krishi Data center. Digo Krishi data center is the software based data center where farmers, extension officers, agricultural stakeholders can make a single call from the Digo Krishi Mobile app to get recommendations and suggestions. Digo Krishi is recently working under SRFSI project with funds from ACIAR in partnership with CIMMYT, CGIAR, NARC, DoA Nepal for outscaling Conservation Agriculture Sustainable Intensification technologies and practices. With this proposal, the Digo Krishi team proposes to upgrade the Digo Krishi to cover plant protection systems as well.
Finding disease and insect is not the problem but providing the best solution with recommended dose and suggestions is the need. Digo Krishi team members have already worked with Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC), Prime Minster Agriculture Modernization Project (PMAMP), Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) and other GOs/NGOs and INGOs.
For the implementation of our proposed concept, a disease and pest information data base will be created. Recommendations and suggestions for disease and pest management will be updated in the mobile app “Digo Krishi” along with causative agents and a photo. The Digo Krishi Team under DreamWork Solution have already worked with NARC for the development of mobile app “NARC Krishi”. The mobile app will be distributed to all the extension officers and agriculture students through mass campaign of social media and existing network. The mobile app will have complete information on disease, pest and disorder management, photos for identification, management practices and available recommended solution in agro vet suppliers. The mobile app will have a “call button” through which farmers, extension officers and other agriculture stakeholders can easily access with Digo Krishi data center where our team members will provide the solution to the queries. Furthermore, Extension officers can take photos of disease or pest and upload using the mobile app which will connect to our software and get disease/pest identification along with recommendation in Nepali and English . The disease pest information of all major crops in Nepal will be published on the mobile app by August 2019. We will start to distribute the mobile app to agriculture extension officer of Sunsari, Morang, Jhapa, Mahottori, Dhading, Nuwakot, Salyan district as a prototype. These districts are selected as we have already database of farmers, cultivation practices, major problems along with list of agro vet suppliers and other information. After the successful prototype, the mobile app will be upgraded with the information and database of other districts and beta version will be released by October 2019.
As a Project Coordinator, I (in a team) have already worked in different ICT based services to different institutions in Nepal. I have recently joined MSc. Agri Botany and Conservation Ecology in Agriculture and Forestry University and working as Program Manager in DreamWork Solution since 2015 (www.dreamworknetwork.com). I have been selected as top 13 finalist in USAID feed the future data driven farming competition 2017 (https://datadrivenfarming.challenges.org/selected/21/dreamwork-solution/). I have been working in development of various ICT based products in agriculture like Krishitools.com, krishimala.com, soilnepal.com, krishilink.com, Farmer Management System, Online farm management system and many more.
Kiran Bamanu, Nepal