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News                                                                                                 AgriTech indiA  September 2018       7

                                                                                 Coffee Board goes digital to

                                                                                 help growers



                                                                                                         by Suresh Prabhu, Commerce   Karnataka,  covering  30,000
                                                                                                         and   Industries   Minister.   farmers  during  the  first  year,
                                                                                                         The  app  “Coffee  Connect”,   and  will  be  extended  to
                                                                                                         for  instance,  will  gather  all   growers  in  remaining  parts
                                                                                                         information relating to various   of  the  country  in  a  phased
                                                                                                         coffee  plantations  in  the   manner.
                                                                                                         country, such as geographical   The  Coffee  Board  also
                                                                                                         location,  plant  material,  age,   launched  a  Blockchain-based
                                                                                                         production  and  machinery   market  app  that  will  create
                                                                                                         available.  The  solution  will   a  digital  platform  linking
                                                                                                         help improve the efficiencies of   all  stakeholders,  including
                                                                                                         field functionaries, particularly   growers, processors, exporters
                                                                                                         extension workers, in subsidy   and  importers.  This  will  help
                                                                                    he   Union   government   disbursement  and  real-time   in  creating  a  brand  image
                                                                                 Tis    currently   assessing   report generation.  for  Indian  coffee  through
                                                                                 the   losses   suffered   by   Coffee  Krishi  Taranga,   traceability,   and   reduce
                                                                                 coffee  planters  due  to  the   an  IVR-based  digital  mobile   growers’   dependency   on
                                                                                 heavy  rainfall  that  battered   extension service, on the other   intermediaries   in   finding
                                                                                 plantations   in   Wayanad   hand, will provide customised   suppliers and exporters.
                                                                                 in  Kerala  and  Kodagu  in   information  and  services  to   Besides,  there  is  an  app
                                                                                 Karnataka.              coffee  growers  to  increase   to  dispense  hyper-local  agri-
                                                                                    Once   the   process   is   productivity, profitability and   weather  information  along
                                                                                 completed,  relief  will  be   environmental sustainability.  with early warnings to farmers.
                                                                                 provided  to  farmers,  said   “Any   coffee   planter   This pilot is being tested in 10
                                                                                 Santosh   Sarangi,   Joint   with  a  feature  phone  will  be   panchayats  in  Karnataka  and
                                                                                 Secretary  in  the  Commerce   able  to  access  this  service,   Kerala.
                                                                                 Ministry.               developed  jointly  by  the   There  also  apps  that
                                                                                    Sarangi was speaking at a   Coffee  Board  and  Precision   will  help  in  detecting  pests
                                                                                 Coffee Board function to launch   Agriculture  for  Development   and  diseases  such  as  white
                                                                                 a slew of mobile applications to   India  Foundation,”  Srivatsa   stem  borer  and  leaf  rust
          How IIT-M is making                            College  developed  a  pepper   improve productivity of coffee   Krishna, CEO and Secretary of   that   affect   coffee   plants.
                                                            Sri  Manakula  Vinayagar
                                                                                 plantations in the country and
                                                                                                                                 These  technologies  will  help
                                                                                                         the Coffee Board, said.
                                                                                                            Coffee Krishi Taranga will
          students agripreneurs                          harvester  that  provides  a   enhance  the  income  of  their   be pilot tested in Chikmagalur   extension   personnel   alert
                                                                                                                                 coffee  farmers  to  take  timely
                                                                                 owners.
                                                         cutting-cum-collection  system
                                                         with  easy  operation  and   The  apps  were  launched   and   Hassan   districts   of   preventive measures.
                                                         maintenance, said Teja.
                                 that  could  potentially  hit  the   Winners will be provided
                                 market one day.         space  at  IIT  Research  Park  to
                                    The  other  four  winners   take  their  prototypes  to  the   After UAe, Qatar lifts ban on import
                                 were from IIT-Madras; Ramco   next  level,  including  getting
                                 Institute   of   Technology,   angel investments, said Abhijit   of fruits, vegetables from Kerala
                                 Rajapalayam;  Sri  Manakula   P  Deshpande,  Professor  in
                                 Vinayagar    Engineering   charge of RuTAG.
                                 College,   Puducherry,   and                                                                    We expect Saudi Arabia also to
                                 Marian  Engineering  College,   Incubation system                                               soon lift the embargo as the Haj
                                 Menamkulam, Kerala.        “Our  endeavour  is  to                                              pilgrimage season has come to
                                    IIT     -    Madras’   encourage  students  to  work                                         an end,” told PE Ashraf Ali of
                                 MechanicaTec2Farm  contest,   on  rural  technology  from                                       Pomona Exports, Kozhikode.
                                 driven  by  students  of  the   conceptualisation,   design,                                       Though  exports  were  on
                                 Department  of  Mechanical   prototyping  and  field  trials                                    in  full  swing  following  the
                                 Engineering, was co-ordinated   to  incubation,”  he  told.  RTBI                               lifting  of  the  ban,  he  said  the
                                 by  Rural  Technology  Action   will  provide  infrastructure,                                  recent floods hadimpacted the
                                 Group   (RuTAG);   Rural   logistics   and   mentoring.                                         shipments. He added that the
                                 Technology Business Incubator   During the three-month period,                                  threat of contagious diseases in
          The team from IIT-Jammu with   (RTBI) and Creativiti Council,   students  will  get  exposure   lose  on  the  heels  of  the   Kerala.  Kerala in the aftermath of the
          their weed remover prototype  an  NGO  from  Kerala,  said   to   the   larger   incubation   CUAE  lifting  a  ban  on   The   Agricultural   and   floods  is  also  affecting  future
                                 K  Venkat  Teja,  Student-  ecosystem  and  work  towards   import of fruits and vegetables   Processed   Food   Products   export consignments.
            agar Rathee, a second-year   Secretary,   Mechanical   the  basic  business  model  for   from  Kerala,  Qatar  has  also   Export Development Authority   The 40-day ban in June due
          Smechanical   engineering   Engineering  Association,  IIT-  their  venture,  which  could   followed suit, with the end of   (Apeda)  has  also  received  a   to  the  outbreak  of  the  Nipah
          student  at  IIT-Jammu  came   Madras.         attract  angel  investors  and   the Nipah virus threat.  similar  communication  from   virus  had  impacted  fruit  and
          to  IIT-Madras  to  attend  the                eventually hit the market, said   The  Export  Inspection   the Qatar Embassy conveying   vegetable  exports,  causing  an
          annual Mechanica contest with   Farm-related prototypes  Deshpande.    Council received a letter from   the  decision  of  the  Joint   estimated loss of around $2-3
          the intention of developing an   With  ten  problems,  three   The  team  from  Kerala   the  Director  of  Food  Safety   Committee  for  Human  Food   lakh  per  day.  Kerala  ships
          innovative  product,  bagging   rounds  of  evaluation  and   has  already  moved  in  to  the   &   Environmental   Health,   Control lifting the ban.  around 150 tonnes of fruits and
          an award and returning home.  over  170  registrations,  a  total   park  to  develop  a  nutmeg   Ministry  of  Public  Health,   “With  this,  all  the  Gulf   vegetables on a daily basis to
            He  never  realised  that  he   of  14  teams  were  short-listed   collector  that  provides  a   Qatar,  allowing  the  import   nations  except  Saudi  Arabia   Gulf  countries  from  the  three
          and his team members would   to  the  final  round  to  develop   simple  mechanical  system  to   of  fresh,  chilled  and  frozen   and  Bahrain  have  lifted  the   airports in the State, he said.
          end up getting an opportunity   prototypes  and  test  their   harvest  fallen  nutmeg  from   vegetables  and  fruits  from   ban on exports from the State.
          to   become   entrepreneurs   models.          THE  ground  in  a  standing
          thanks  to  developing  a  Weed   The  five  winners  were   position.  “RTBI  is  guiding  us
          Remover prototype.     selected in June, said Teja. The   on  start-up  methodologies
            In  the  past,  students   prototypes  are  unique.  The   like product development and   pMO to vet agri export policy
          developed  a  product,  say  a   ‘palm tree climber’ developed   market analysis.
          robot  or  a  Formula  One  car,   by the students of IIT-Madras   Our  aim  is  to  ultimately   before it is taken to Cabinet
          and  the  winners  were  given   is  a  robotic  climber  that   help  farmers,”  said  Benson
          prize money on the spot.  follows the human method of   Gipson   from   Marian
            It  ended  there.  However,   climbing.      Engineering College.                            suggested measures to ensure   While  the  policy  doesn’t
          this   year   students   were   This   remote-controlled   Rathee of IIT Jammu said,           that the intended objective is   seek   to   provide   direct
          asked  to  develop  scalable   arm  replicates  the  motions  of   “We  got  necessary  financial   attained,”  told  a  government   incentives  to  exporters  as
          products  solving  problems   human arms and can be used   and  technical  support.  We        official.               these are banned under WTO
          in  agriculture  that  would  be   remotely  from  below  the  tree   got  connected  with  NGOs  to   A  key  suggestion  of  the   norms  for  countries  with  an
          provided  incubation  support   to cut leaves or fruits. Ramco   help us better understand the   policy  is  removal  of  export   average  per  capita  income  of
          to commercialise them.  Institute developed a machine   problem. We are now actively           restrictions, such as imposition   more that $1,000, it has several
            That’s  how  five  teams,   to  support  banana  trees  and   continuing  development  of    of  a  minimum  export  price   incentives  lined  up  that  are
          including    IIT-Jammu,   prevent  damage  by  gusty   our product and look forward            or  export  ban,  for  processed   compatible  with  multilateral
          developed  scalable  products   winds.         to get incubated in RTBI.”
                                                                                                         agricultural  products  and  all   norms.
                                                                                                         organic products.          “There  are  proposals  to
                                                                                     eeping a keen eye on the   It   also   suggests   not   promote   marketing,   build
                                                                                 Kproposed  draft  National   imposing export restrictions on   export   infrastructure   and
                                                                                 Agriculture   Export   Policy   commodities apart from those   develop  a  number  of  export
                                                                                 (NAEP),  one  of  the  Centre’s   identified  as  essential  from   clusters, which would require
                                                                                 key  policy  measures  to  help   the  food  security  perspective.   funding  from  the  Finance
                                                                                 double  farm  exports  and   These  commodities  will  be   Ministry.  With  the  PMO’s
                                                                                 farmers’ incomes by 2022, the   identified  by  the  relevant   support,  it  would  be  easier
                                                                                 Prime  Minister’s  Office  (PM)   stakeholders  and  ministries.   to  get  the  necessary  funds,”
                                                                                 has  asked  the  Commerce   The   move,   according   to   a   Delhi-based   agricultural
                                                                                 Ministry  to  make  a  detailed   the  proposal,  will  establish   expert said.
                                                                                 presentation  on  the  proposed   India as a reliable supplier of   The thrust of the policy is
                                                                                 measures before placing them   agriculture commodities in the   to boost high-value and value-
                                                                                 before  the  Union  Cabinet  for   world market.  added  agricultural  exports,
                                                                                 approval.                                       with a focus on perishables.
                                                                                    “The NAEP has proposed   Eye on polls           India’s  share  of  such
                                                                                 a   number   of   measures   With the general elections   produce  in  the  agriculture
                                                                                 to   remove   unnecessary   scheduled   for   2019,   the   export  basket  is  less  than  15
                                                                                 regulations  that  are  holding   government  is  measuring  its   per  cent  compared  to  25  per
                                                                                 back  our  farm  exports.  The   steps carefully, especially ones   cent for the US and 49 per cent
                                                                                 PMO  wants  to  vet  all  the   which could affect farmers.  for China.
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