Regulating the use of urea through a software driven project in Vishakhapatnam
The district administration of Vishakhapatnam is in the process of developing a software-driven plan in order to regulate the excessive use of urea by farmers which would slash the cost of farming, and address soil imbalances caused by excess use of the fertilizer. The idea is the brainchild of the District Collector, N Yuvaraj.
The problem in use of urea:
As stated by him to The Hindu, the problem occurs when the same farmer goes to various outlets to procure the fertilizer, at times even if they are not able to afford it. This shoots up the prices. By integrating the primary agricultural credit societies and land details provided from Web Land, the state government’s portal recording the land details, any farmer who has been shown to buy urea from a shop using an app or computer, will not be allowed to buy it a second time. At the same time, the crop sown by the farmers will be tabulated and coordinated with the software to ascertain the exact quantity of urea required for each farmland.
Aspects of the initiative:
According to Mr Yuvraj, the software-driven approach for selling fertilizers is set to be launched on a pilot basis during the Kharif season. If successful, there will be expansion in subsequent crop seasons.
Other aspects of the programme include awareness creation among 4.5 lakh farmers, use of an app and e-crop booking by village revenue officers and personnel of the Agricultural Department for recording which crop has been sown and roping in the four sugar factories that supply fertilizers to the farmer. This means various stakeholders in the use of urea will be brought in within one platform.
Crop-wise distribution of fertilizers:
The major Kharif crops which require urea as fertilizer are paddy (1.01 lakh hectare of 2 lakh hectares), sugarcane (37241 ha) and maize (5878 ha) besides horticulture crops like mango, cashew and oil palm.
During the last Kharif season, the total amount of urea sold through primary agriculture credit societies and dealers and consumed by farmers was 30 000 tonnes, according Agriculture Department estimates.
The technology initiated aims at cutting down this amount by 5000 to 6000 tonnes this Kharif season. Moreover, the cost of urea per acre is expected to go down by Rs 1500 and Rs 2000.
Excessive amount of fertilizers can harm any standing crop as well the soil due to repeated overuse. As such the new initiative started by the Vishakhapatnam administration is a step in the right direction. We wishes the government all the best for the successful implementation and expansion of this software-driven approach