Thursday, June 30, 2016

Crop Manager app for rice-based systems released for farmers of Bihar, India

BIHAR, India—Crop Manager for Rice-based Systems (CMRS), a web app for better crop and nutrient management, has been released to Bihar farmers.

The CMRS app (simply known as Crop Manager) was officially launched by Radha Mohan Singh (photo at right), India’s Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, in a ceremony organized at the Research Complex for the Eastern Region of the Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR-RCER) in Patna on 28 June.

Singh congratulated the scientists from different institutes who have been involved in the app's development. The app could be linked with the Soil Health Card scheme of the Govt of India, which will carry personalized  recommendations for nutrient and crop management to help farmers improve productivity through efficient input use. Once linked with Soil Health Scheme, it integrates well into Digital India, a campaign launched by Shri Narender Modi, India's prime minister, to ensure that government services are made available to citizens electronically by making the country digitally empowered.

Singh was pleased to know that the app can provide recommendations for rice farming in irrigated and rainfed environments. It can also be used for stress-tolerant rice varieties developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and researchers in India. He said that he plans to visit IRRI headquarters soon to learn more about stress-tolerant varieties and the Crop Manager.

During the launching ceremony, Shri Vijoy Prakash, Bihar’s Agriculture Production Commissioner, officially released the Crop Manager brochure (photo above). 

The app, which can be used with a computer, mobile phone, or tablet, aims to increase farmers' net income and sustain the productivity of rice-based cropping systems. It also provides irrigated and rainfed rice farmers with crop and nutrient management guidelines that are customized to the needs of individual farmers. CMRS uses farmers' answers to questions on practices to automatically generate management guidelines for rice, wheat, or rabi maize. 

CMRS is designed to help extension workers, crop advisers, input providers, and service providers to interview farmers. They can use a personal computer, smartphone, or tablet. 

The app was adapted, evaluated, and verified in Bihar through IRRI’s collaboration with ICAR; Bihar Agricultural University; Rajendra Agricultural University (RAU); international donors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Catholic Relief Services; and other CGIAR centers including the International Wheat and Maize Improvement Center.

Also attending the launch were R.C. Shrivastav, RAU vice chancellor; K.K. Singh, director, Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering in Bhopal, B.P. Bhatt, ICAR-RCER director; Sudhanshu Singh, IRRI senior scientist;  Sheetal Sharma, IRRI soil scientist; and team members of Improved Rice-based Rainfed Agricultural Systems.

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