Friday 7 October 2011

India: GPS Technology in Agriculture

     Google alert has recently enlightened me regarding the use of GPS Technology in the field of Agriculture farming which is precisely known as precision farming.
    Use of this technology will revolutionize the Agriculture around the world and this technology will stop the misuse of natural resources, input cost related to agriculture farming according to news report. I would like to call it as laser guided agriculture farming.
     As far as my knowledge goes until reading of a news column in the Times of India and the Hindu, I was in the opinion that GPS technology (Global positioning system) is meant for tracking the movement of car, law enforcement etc but it can be useful to the Agriculture farming was beyond my imagination.
    In my Under Graduate course, I had a chance to visit an Institute at Bangaluru (then Bangalore) and there I had an opportunity to see the satellite imagery.
    But honestly speaking, I did not get much exposure except, some image which were said to be satellite imagery of forest area and water bodies etc. Since then some knowledge I had been able to gather regarding usage of satellite imagery.
     Now, with the news of application of GPS (Global Positioning System) technology, I could co-relate our visit to the Institute that showed the use of Satellite imagery.
   Using satellite imagery in Agriculture, scientist can get an aerial view of scanned area which can reveal a plethora of crucial information from the total area; scientist can find suitable area for particular crops, standing crops and pest and disease incidence precisely.
    News reports suggest that in United States of America, precision farming has quite takers and succeeded in achieving desired farm out put.
  However, percentage of adoption by the farmers of the United States of America is not available and no such success story is available. However, it is presumed that the people of America being more cosmopolitan and receptive to the new technology might have already tested the precision farming in their country.
    In India, in the news, it was seen that India launching satellite with the objective for different utility purposes like communication, satellite imagery for mapping the natural resources and tracking sea resources etc, but it has just been few days news of GPS technology and its application in Agriculture has been written.
    News reports indicates that the country’s premier research body; Indians Council of Agriculture Research with its umbrella organization has started pilot project in Uttar Pradesh through Project Directorate for Farming System Research, Meerut, an Institute of Indian council of Agriculture Research, Government of India.
    ICAR is working on a scheme to increase agricultural productivity by providing exact information to farmers on the types of crops they should grow, fertilizers and water requirement through the use of GPS Technology.
    It is reported that ICAR has already collected GPS based soil samples across the country on the nutrient status and acidic reaction of soil in different agriculture region to build data base on appropriate farming methods to be employed for maximum productivity.
   Subsequently, information on appropriate farming techniques to be adopted in specific areas as identified through the GPS based soil samples that will be disseminated to the farmers over the internet.
     At present, in India, the scheme has been put under initiative on a pilot basis in two villages of Western Uttar Pradesh – Jainpur in Meerut and Matiala in Ghazibad under the guidance by Project Directorate for Farming System Research.
   Project Director added that “….the data along with the map of the particular agricultural field will be available on the internet which could easily be accessed by the farmers”.
    For achieving the scheme, the ICAR has lots of plan; in addition of GPS, Global Information System (GIS) and Simulation Modeling for Decision Support System (DSS) will be utilized for this project.
     The farmers will be able to know the type crops suitable for their particular fields. Project Director said “In India, agricultural land is shrinking rapidly so we have no other option but to conserve and utilize the natural resources for maximum productivity by using appropriate techniques of farming system”.
    O.K., the new system is more accurate and farmers’ friendly but reaching to the target group is the main problem.
   On the other hand, when an information of new scientific approach  is spread through different extension mechanism  are subjected to different kind of escape and finally when it reaches to the target groups, it is either half truth or malformed. That is the way it functions at present.
   Motivating farmers for going to the internet / cyber cafĂ© for obtaining the day to day information for precision farming is really challenging task ahead and to be seen.
   Although different kiosk or facilitation centre have come up in Taluka / Block level or Sub-Divisional level but I do not find farmers taking interest in it.
    The case is either farmers are not well informed about the utility of internet in the nearest kiosk or functionaries give no feedback to the farmers.  
    For instance, our agricultural setup has reached to the village level it is not difficult to map the whole revenue Mouja by the departmental official but what we are lacking is devotion.
  Dissemination of GPS technology is concerned, if it is presumed that farmer’s adoption is encouraging in the new technology but that may not be practicable in today’s perspective.
    It is due to illiteracy of the farmers, their awareness that will play important role in using the latest technological gadget for precision farming.
   Instead of common platform of dissemination of technological information, another gadget that has found its deep rooted impact in pan-Indian situation should also be explored.
    It is well known that MOBILE penetration in India is very much tremendous and its affordability and usability had attracted urban elite to rural artisan and our farmers are also not sidelined, they are also very much with the pan-India movement.
     If this mobile phone is customized in the process, that will be very quick and effective. Appropriate information may be supplemented through mass mailing on local specific needs and this will clearly rock the mind of the farmer.
    But, again, our extension official should work exemplarily because unless farmers are trained and exposed thoroughly, it may not bring good feed back from the farming communities.
  Another plus point of usage of GPS technology is; it will widen the avenue in agriculture technology by creating more opportunities in technology sector for further improvement and application of GPS technology to the field level.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Orchid: A Natural Home to North East India.

    Flower and baby are the sign of purity and manifestation of true inner nature. It has always been said that even cruel mind melts with the sight of flower and touch of the baby.           

Historical influence on usage of flowers:-

Flower like, Rose, Tulip, Tube rose, Marry gold, Carnation, Aster and many others have found their niche place in the mind of people since time immemorial and  it is still winnings the human mind even in more aggressive manner.
In the history, use of flower like Rose by the Mogul Emperor, the Great Akbar is famous; a Rose in hand and enjoying the charming fragrance of Rose flower only suggest the deep rooted impact of flower in the mind of the people.

Commercialization of flowers:-

Over the years, usage of flower had led to the commercial proposition and business oriented approach.
 Now, flower cultivation or growing flower crops considered to commercial crops. However, usage, leaving aside the basic usage like worshiping etc, flower market has come up in the locality of affluent area. 

Orchids in briefs:-

Now, coming to the Orchid which was considered till recently as one of the aesthetic plants and flower has been creating rush in the mind of the people because of its extra-ordinary flower color, size and shape.
 Orchid as a flower fetches good market price due to its rareness and exclusivity. This is the specific flowers grown or found in specific region or country but not in all place.

Distribution of Orchids in India:- 

    In India, North east is considered to be the hot spot of orchid in the country. Different species of orchids are found in Tripura, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh.
   In Arunachal Pradesh, a state having the diverse climate is considered among the North Eastern India a stockpile of Orchids. In addition, Orchid is also found in the Western Ghats of southern state of India.

Orchids Research center:-

 In Arunachal Pradesh, Orchids Research Centre has come with an objective to explore, preserve and popularize best natural beauty in scientific manner for best utilization of natural resources.
     The centre is working in to find out the Orchid species available in the North East not only Arunachal Pradesh but also in adjoining states.
    The centre is also maintaining germplasm of different orchid species so as to avoid extinction due to depletion natural environment of orchids in the vast forest areas of the north eastern India.
   The centre is also employing latest scientific methods like tissue culture for propagation of orchids in artificial environment; thereby commercial requirement of the orchid is met up.

Present trends of Orchids in local condition:-

Orchid as a flower as well as its commercialization is still in the stage of early years as far as popularity is concerned.
 It is simply due to non-availability of the product, that people, mostly from small cities do not find this flower like any other flower as is found in the local flower market.

Opportunity in commercialization of Orchids:-

North Eastern states being the home of vast number of species of Orchid are conducive to the growth of Orchid either naturally or in captive environment.
  But, it has never been tried or pursued by any. North Eastern states being home to the Orchids should naturally come forward and explore their opportunity by taking this opportunity. However, realization should come first to the mind of north east that the Orchid is deep rooted in the culture and tradition of the people of the North East.  

World Scenario:-

    In the world, Singapore and of course some other south Asian countries are privileged to have these natural beauties of course, there may be many such countries where Orchid is found.
  However, as far as commercialization is concerned, it is the Singapore who could properly exploit these natural resources into natural earner having exporting the value added orchid products to the World.
The same should work in the instrumental of Indian Orchids to flourish world wide and earning a pie for the economic prosperity of the people of the country.

Orchids in Tripura:-

In Tripura, Orchid, its deep rooted in the culture and tradition.There is mention in the folk lore and that is how the Orchids had influenced the mind of the people of Tripura, a small state of India.
 But, the Orchid which had influenced the people had remained in the folk lore only because un-fortunately, the Orchids had almost ceased to exist in the forest of Tripura
   In Tripura, there is a story on Orchid which was considered as heavenly flower popularly known as KHELANGBAR and it was known to be the most beautiful flower with mind enchanting fragrance.
   But, the flower of such immense historical importance had become a long history to the people of the state. It is only in sort film or documentary the Orchid has re-surfaced. But, very few had come out to explore this traditional and historical flower ever.
   Now, with the economic advancement, at least some socio-economical up-gradation, people started realizing the need for preservation of this historical glory.
   Now the need of the hour is to save the endangered Orchid species from extinction and explore the potentiality of the Orchids.

Agriculture dependency in rise: India

Birth of baby Ashtha in the year 2000 had marked the India in the group of billion populations and now after census 2011, present population of India is more than 1.20 billion.
In the census–2011, one positive aspect along with many other social indices is percentage of growth. It was reported that percentage of population growth is declining compare to previous census.
 The reason for slightest decline in population growth could be attributed to the awareness that reached to the fur flung area and level of literacy that synchronized with the idea and objectives of the planner.
In the Census report, there are many indices like education, employment and socio economic condition that have given fair share of idea as to how the Country  is progressing.
 But, one point that draws my attention is perhaps dependency on Agriculture that is how relevant the farming occupation means to the Indian.
Reports on Rural-Urban population reflected that rural area is home to 70 percent of total population and in urban and semi-urban areas it is mere 30 percent.
 It was contemplated that due to mass migration of rural flock to the urban areas, ratio of rural-urban would be fifty-fifty but that is totally contrasting.
 Yes, migration do happen till today  and it will continue to do so but it is only the certain groups  of rural educated youths and un-skilled workforce.
     Now the point is; what are the activities of this huge population, it is absolutely the agriculture farming that has survived these huge population.
    Another point; is farming profitable or are their no options. I keep this question open to all.
In India, the Government has identified agriculture sector as the main thrust area simply because her maximum population is depending on this sector for their livelihood.
 In India, one of the economic development indexes is agriculture that is to say that, if in a given year growth in agriculture sector is satisfactory then India is well positioned and stable in terms of economic prosperity.
    However, agriculture farming in India is still to transform in full-fledged manner in the sense that adoption of modern scientific approach  in harnessing or realizing the full potentiality of these sector are yet to be fully explored.
    It is not that there is lack of science and technological advancement in the field of agriculture but strategic extension mechanism is one such area that has to be looked into for reaching the actual target groups.
   In India although, there is huge dependency and direct involvement by maximum population of the country but profitability and economic reliance are another aspects that has not been achieved due to subsistence type of agriculture.
    Of course in some parts of the country, farmers are witnessing good economic returns from their huge tract of land by utilizing modern agriculture technology and growing different kinds of profitable crops.
   But, in most of the cases farmers with small land holding hardly achieves the economic level to be considered as profitable.
    Though agriculture farming dependency is increasing but growth in the subsidiary sectors that is agriculture based subsidiary sector is yet to be tapped.
  This is the sector that could act as a catalyst to make the rural population in more agile manner.
   In the opposite spectrum, countries like America, Russia and many other developed countries, percentage of total population dependency in agriculture farming is between 10-15 per cent but still they are commanding huge opportunity in the field of different agriculture produce.