GIS-based forewarning system helping farmers resist pests

Small farmers along coastal Tamil Nadu, in Vedaranyam block, Nagapattinam district are losing up to 40% of the crop yields due to the incidence of pests and diseases. The dynamics of pest and disease patterns are changing rapidly due to the changing weather patterns posing a great challenge in crop production to the small holding farmers.

MSSRF in partnership with Oracle has started a project on GIS-based forewarning system on pest attack. In this innovative technology, weather, GIS and remote sensing based data will be used to predict pest and disease to forewarn farmers through mobile application for effective crop management.

The project is being implemented in three villages namely Thennadar, Vanduvancheri and Kathiripulam, located in Vedaranyam block in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu.

About 500 farmers from these three villages were trained so far on pest and disease management practices for paddy, brinjal and jasmine. Awareness was created on soil, pest and disease control for 1000 farmers.

Eight village‐level meetings were organised between the farmers and experts from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru College of Agriculture and Research Institute (PAJANCOA & RI), Karaikal for capacity building of the farmers on management of crop pest and diseases.

The three villages possess automatic weather stations. The weather data collected from the three stations have been spatially interpolated, covering the entire Vedaranyam Block (total area of the block 630 sq.km). In addition, historical daily weather data (30 year data) was obtained from the PAJANCOA & RI, Karaikal. All this collated data is being processed jointly with the PAJANCOA & RI , Karaikal and the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore and a forewarning model is being developed with the support of scientists from the TNAU.

The weather based pest and disease forewarning information will be disseminated to the small and marginal farmers of Vedaranyam Block through the android application and voice short message service (SMS). Development of the Android application has been completed, and is currently being tested among 1000 small and marginal farmers (both men and women) of the project village, and will be released soon. By 2019, the project aims to reach 15,000 beneficiaries through direct and indirect approaches.

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