Precision agri: Now, mobile-based application for soil & water testing

Kolkata: West Bengal Comprehensive Area Development Corporation (CADC) has taken a significant step in its way forward for precision agriculture with the introduction of soil and water testing through a mobile-based application titled 'Soil Sathi'.

CADC has procured the technology from a start-up company. The device whose monitor resembles the look of a mobile phone is fitted with a small bag that contains some equipment that are responsible for testing the soil quality and points out the problem areas and prescribe the ways through which it could be made fit for cultivation. It can also be used for testing water so that a farmer can assess the salinity of water and get an idea of whether it is fit for pisciculture. The portable nature of the device is another added advantage and the SHG groups can carry it easily for testing purposes.

"It is often seen that soil or water can easily be made cultivation friendly through the use of some basic chemicals or fertilisers. So the device is a small but significant stride in revolutionising the concept of agriculture," said a senior CADC official.

MV Rao, Additional Chief Secretary of Panchayats and Rural Development department tweeted that all CADC projects spread across 23 districts in the state have initiated soil and water testing with Soil Sathi mobile application. "10,500 farmers soil samples tested, advice given on fertilisers, nutrients," tweeted Rao.

There are seven agro-climatic zones in the state and the soil conditions are different. "Our agriculture activities are paddy dependent and require a large quantity of water. With the rapid depletion of groundwater, water conservation has assumed importance so the time has come for us to take up cultivation of crops that require less quantity of water. We have successfully cultivated millet that requires much less water in Purulia and the Hills. Under these circumstances, the soil testing has assumed prime importance," added the CADC official.

The cost of the device is around Rs70,000 so the SHG groups can purchase it on their own for large scale use.

CADC, an autonomous organisation under the state Panchayats & Rural Development department works for area-based rural development through increased agricultural and allied production ensuring maximum benefit of such production to the cultivators.

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