Khaleej Times

Powerful farming apps useless in power-hit UP


pilakhana (uttar pradesh) — Ram Kumar puts his smartphone for charging as soon as the bulb in his hut lights up after an eight-hour power outage. He bought this phone thinking its powerful apps would not just entertain him, but give him tips on modern farming and selling of crops.

Kumar, a resident of the 11,000-strong Pilakhana village in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district, is among the many farmers in his village who expected lives to change with the launch of agricultur­al apps that promised to give them a range of informatio­n — right from weather updates to availabili­ty of good quality seeds and harvesting and selling of crops.

But the apps are of little use, thanks to frequent power cuts, lasting from five hours to 12 hours daily, combined with poor internet connection­s. Kumar said he ended up using his phone for making calls and as a torch during power cuts.

Kumar’s woes come at a time of agrarian distress, when the government has been promoting digital technology in rural areas which promise to revolution­ise the agricultur­e sector.

In the last two years, the government has launched nine agricultur­al apps, including the national agricultur­e market - eNAM, an electronic trading platform that connects different mandis, markets for farm produce. Its Kisan Suvidha is an app that promises to provide farmers with informatio­n on weather conditions, dealers, market prices and plant protection. The Pusa Krishi app gives farmers informatio­n on crops.

Among a host of other apps are the MKisan Applicatio­n, Shetkari Masik app, Farm-o-pedia, Crop insurance mobile app, AgriMarket and Bhuvan Hailstorm App.

But farming apps are almost useless in many parts of Uttar Pradesh, where only 37 per cent households have electricit­y connection­s, compared to 67 per cent nationwide.

“The government wants to help us through these apps but if we don’t have facilities such as electricit­y, how are we benefit from them,” Kumar asked as other villagers nodded. — PTI

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