Digitizing agriculture in Punjab
Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Punjab will inaugurate a program of distribution of Smart Phones under Khadim-e-Punjab Kissan Package on Monday (12th March). This launching ceremony will be held in Lahore.
Under this scheme, during initial stage 110,000 smart phones will be distributed among registered farmers of Kissan Package and during next stage all registered farmers will get this smart phone which will be equipped with special apps that help farmers to interact with agriculture experts for taking advice regarding improvement in crops, know the weather condition in real time and see videos about latest production technology of crops, know about crop calendar etc.
These phones will be provided on provision of Rs.500/- for landless & tenants and Rs.1000/- for land owners. This phase of the scheme was designed because a lack of a systematic and efficient way to educate/inform the farmers was observed. A man-based, slow flow of information was the norm, resulting in farmers making hasty, ill-informed decisions, leading to financial losses and not reaping maximum potential profit.
A first of its kind program in the Asia-Pacific region, CAPP is all about digitizing the small/landless farmer community to make them well connected, well aware, and in control of their farming workflow.
The Department of Agriculture, Government of Punjab, in collaboration with Telenor and PITB (Punjab Information Technology Board) has developed a carefully crafted mobile apps services, keeping its unique target audience in mind, to enable technology to rapidly assist and cater to farmer needs.
With this smart phones farmers will be able to apply for agri loans through the PITB-led app that would eliminate patwari and bank agent culture. It will create a technology-driven echo system that will give confidence to the farmers deciding what to sow; when & where to sell. Smart phone equipped app will also help farmers to receive alerts about weather conditions, crop diseases and protection and timely use of fertilizers and pesticides.
Agriculture Department will also establish “Facilitation Centers” in collaboration with Telenor Pakistan where farmers will be trained regarding its efficient usage of Agri apps. Since a majority of the farmers also need education on the use of the mechanism, around 500 on-ground training sessions will be conducted in 72 facilitation centers to train 25,000 farmers across 144 Tehsils of Punjab. Agriculture Department is planning to provide this technology to the farming community so they may able to enter in the new world of information where they will get informed in no time.
Small farmers will benefit from this initiative in a big way as the smartphones would display agriculture related information to them within no time and would be helpful from sowing to harvest of crops, local weather updates, crop marketing. With this new technology farmer will have entire world on his palm and this step will lead towards increase agricultural productivity.