The Indian Council of Agricultural Research is working on a scheme to increase agricultural productivity by providing exact information to farmers on the type of crops they should grow, fertiliser and water requirements through the use of GPS technology.
Under the project, ICAR has collected global positioning system (GPS)-based soil samples across the country on the nutrient status and acidic reaction of soil in agri-regions to build a database on the appropriate farming methods to be employed for maximum productivity.
Subsequently, information on appropriate farming techniques to be adopted in specific areas, as identified through the GPS-based soil samples, will be disseminated to farmers over the internet.
The Project Directorate for Farming System Research (PDFSR), Meerut, an institute of ICAR, is already implementing the initiative on a pilot basis in two villages of Western Uttar Pradesh — Jainpur in Meerut and Matiala in Ghaziabad.
“The agricultural land will be divided into homologous zones on the basis of the requirement of fertilisers, the data along with the map of the particular agricultural field will be available on the internet which could be easily accessed by the farmers,” the Project Director of PDFSR, Modipuram, Meerut, Mr B. Gangwar, said.
According to scientists, the requirement of fertilisers in the soil depends on their qualities, such as the extent of acidity & alkalinity, PH value, humus content and the type of crops harvested and sown which largely varies.
Over-use of fertilisers is turning the soil infertile, which is a major concern, Mr Gangwar said.
“The data will be updated after every crop,” he added.
In addition to GPS, Global Information System (GIS) and Simulation Modelling for Decision Support System (DSS) will be utilised for this project. The farmers will also be able to know the type of crop suitable for their fields.
The results of the pilot projects in Western UP are encouraging, Mr Gangwar said.
“In India, agricultural land is shrinking rapidly so we have no other option but to conserve and utilise the natural resources for maximum productivity by using appropriate techniques of farming system,” he said.
According to government estimates, small and marginal farmers will hold more than 91 per cent of farm holdings by 2030.
ICAR scientists have also developed an integrated farming system, which increases the productivity of water by up to four times and in this system, rice cultivation is integrated with pisciculture and poultry farming.