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For Bengal farmers, help now at the touch of a button

IANS 02 Aug 2014, 19:35:23 PM IST
Kolkata: The West Bengal government is all set for a statewide launch of ‘Matir Katha', an android application providing expert advice to farmers, following a highly successful pilot project, an official said Saturday.

At an investment of Rs.2.39 crore, the app was earlier introduced on a pilot basis in six districts of Nadia, Burdwan, North 24 Parganas, Hooghly, Bankura and Jalpaiguri.

A result of collaboration between the departments of agriculture, agricultural marketing, animal husbandry, fisheries and horticulture and the state information technology agency WEBEL, the app allows farmers to avail the services of technical experts through Krishi Prajukti Sahayak (KPS) or agri-tech assistants, acting as an inter-phase.

Farmers, with their queries ranging from crop types, prices and availability of seeds, insurance, crop diseases and even weather forecast are now readily getting their answers through this programme.

“Encouraged by the high success of the pilot project, we are now ready with full scale launch of the app. By the end of this month, farmers across 335 agricultural blocks will be able to avail the services,” Directorate of Agriculture's nodal officer Himangshu Mondal told IANS.

Mondal said at least 3,000 KPS will be employed across the districts for the project.

Posted in gram panchayat levels, the KPS are provided android tablets with GPRS connections to facilitate real-time audio and video messaging to relay the farmers' problems to the agri-experts.