Karimnagar: WhatsApp, which brought major changes in the way people communicate across the globe, has become a part and parcel of day-to-day life of general public here.
In order utilise it for the welfare of farmers and provide scientific advice for treating crop diseases, District Agriculture Department has designed an innovative programme.
First ever in the State, administration has designed ‘e-Sayam’, a WhatsApp group which includes agriculture extension officers (AEOs), agriculture officials, scientists of Krushi Vignana Kendram (KVK), Jammikunta.
Both Agriculture Department and KVK are jointly implementing the programme from December 1, 2017. As part of the programme, AEOs would visit agricultural fields and identify standing crops. If they find any problem (diseases), they would take picture of the affected crop using tablets supplied to them and post the picture on e-Sayam WhatsApp group.
Scientists, who are part of the group, would give advice to overcome the particular problem. After getting reply from scientists, AEOs would suggest farmers regarding the steps to be taken to overcome the problem. They would also collect feedback from farmers and record them in a book.
V Sreedhar, District Agriculture Officer, told ‘Telangana Today’ in order to keep Agriculture Department staff especially AEO up-to-date, a majority of whom were new appointees, and help farmers, e-Sayam programme was designed.
Five to six scientists, who were there in WhatsApp group, would give advice immediately. If scientists fail to respond, they would try to get information from agricultural scientists working in other places and post the solution in the group. Farmers would get solution within one hour, he said.
In the next phase, wall posters would be printed highlighting crop diseases along with advices and would be pasted at central locations in villages. This would help farmers facing similar problem, he said. Every day, we had been receiving five to six problems from different parts of the district, he said.
The idea of e-Sayam was derived from IIIT, Gachibowli team, which sought Rs 20 lakh to design the project. However, they designed the project at a meagre cost of of Rs 2.78 lakh, DAO said.
Informing that Collector had sanctioned Rs 1 lakh for the programme, he said the next phase of pasting posters in villages would be taken up after getting remaining amount.
Besides e-Sayam, toll free number has also been arranged at KVK to take phone calls from farmers and give suitable advice. So far, 140 calls have been received by KVK scientists from farmers.