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Business Economy


Suresh Prabhu launches digital initiatives to benefit coffee stakeholders

Suresh Prabhu launches digital initiatives to benefit coffee stakeholders

New Delhi, Sep 4 (UNI) Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday launched Coffee Mobile App 'Coffee Connect,' to ease the work of field functionaries and improve efficiency.

'Coffee Board of India must be complimented for bringing out new interventions using emerging technologies, for the advancement of coffee sector in the country,' Mr Prabhu said.



"Giving the right quantity of nutrients and ensuring proper control is very important for agricultural productivity. The coffee board has brought in technology and this will bring huge advantages and prosperity to the growers and agricultural productivity in the country," the Minister added.

Another initiative launched was the Coffee Krishi Tharanga, with an aim to provide customised information and services to increase productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability.

Utility of drone technology in agriculture was demonstrated on the occasion, by the Commerce Minister.

In a move that is likely to significantly enhance the efficiencies and efficacies of the coffee sector's value chain using technologies like mobile phones and data analytics, the Coffee Board, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, launched a number of mobile phone applications for the benefit of all relevant stakeholders across the sector eco-system.



‘Coffee Connect’, developed by Coffee Board in association with National Institute for Smart Government (NISG) developed by WINIT, will provide field functionaries with relevant information using a combination of digitisation technologies like geo-tagging.

They will have information including plantation details (location among others) as well as plant material, age, production, Infrastructures and machinery available. The solution will help in improving the efficiency of the field functionaries, transparency in the activities of the extension officers and in subsidy disbursement and real time report generation.



One of the key reasons for launching the apps was to ensure better information exchange between the Coffee Board personnel and those on the ground growing and selling the coffee.

At present there are 170 Coffee Board extension personnel providing services to 3.66 lakh coffee farmers, or 1 extension officer per 2,153 farmers.

There has been a 10-fold increase extension officer Farmer ratio in the past 20 years largely due to a large scale expansion of coffee area and increased number of coffee growers over a period of time.

In addition to the extension services, the extension personnel also have to work towards the developmental activities, surveys among others.



“Technology, when used for good, has a distinctive characteristic of bringing positive and disruptive change. It is always evolving and it is up to us to harness the power of technology to bring in efficiency and ensure long term sustainable livelihoods to about 3.66 lakhs of farmers involved in coffee industry across the country. These applications and solutions are only the beginning. There is a long road ahead and we have much to do in very little time,” Coffee Board CEO and Secretary Srivatsa Krishna said.



“The applications that have been launched today are some the first in the country to use technologies like blockchain across the value chain as well as IVR based back end operations to give timely & precise advisory to coffee farmers,” Mr Krishna added.



Coffee Krishi Tharanga is an IVR based Digital Mobile Extension Service aimed at maximising the reach of the Board’s services in the limited time available.

It has been jointly developed by Coffee Board and Precision Agriculture for Development India Foundation (PADIF). The Coffee Krishi Tharanga services aim to provide customised information and services to increase productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability. The customised services are two ways, 24 by 7 service supports.



The “Coffee Krishi Tharanga” will be pilot tested in the Chikmagalur and Hassan districts of Karnataka State covering 30,000 farmers during the first year and will be extended to remaining growers in a phased manner. NABARD has partly funded the Pilot project.



Coffee plantations are spread across undulating terrains in hilly regions with most of the Coffee producing areas being based in the Western Ghats.

Operations in the Coffee farms are labour-intensive and the introduction of drone-based technologies could enable the farm managers and labourers to identify diseases and pests, and undertake remedial action such as spraying of plant protection chemicals and targeted application of plant nutrients.

Coffee is cultivated in about 4.54 lakh hectares by 3.66 lakh coffee farmers and 98 per cent of them are small farmers.

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