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AP’s crop zone analysis proves to be a boon for farmers

In a country that witnesses farmers’ suicides every other day, technological interventions in agriculture can go a long way in bringing down farm distress and making agriculture profitable. Several agricultural interventions such as Agri Crop Zone analysis, Crop advisories, Crop moisture monitoring and others. 
 
Agri Crop Zone (ACZ) analysis has been introduced with an aim to maximise crop income per hectare with available resources. ACZ is being carried out in Agriculture, Horticulture, Sericulture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Departments. 
 
This process uses multi-faceted variables for advising cropping patterns at mandal level based on the soil type and source of irrigation. This helps every farmer understand the cropping pattern by ensuring better economic output for the crop.

For instance: If a farmer is uncertain about his groundnut crop growing in low rainfall areas, he is suggested to replace it with horticultural crops.
 
After trying to understand cropping zones, the next most important decision for a farmer is about when to sow the crop. Based on soil moisture and weather forecast, inputs are provided to farmers to sow the crop at a particular time. In case of any adverse weather conditions, farmers are also alerted through an SMS in Telugu a week in advance about such warnings. For instance: In case of increase in soil moisture, they are advised not to provide additional irrigation, eventually saving the crop from excessive water supply. 
 
Using Artificial Intelligence, the government is working with AgriTech Startups which have developed an early warning system for pest and diseases. A week in advance, alerts are sent out to farmers about the pest and diseases that could affect the crop. Farmers are trained to use the Plantix app to scan the infected crop. Once this data is obtained, scientists prescribe curative action to the farmers. 
 
Additionally, satellite based crop areas estimation as loss assessment/ risk management project has been taken up to ensure that farmers get crop insurance. Field intelligence reports are collected and necessary insurance is provided to farmers for their crop loss.
 
This apart, the government’ Zero Budget Natural Farming also is gradually creating a paradigm shift in agriculture. The ZBNF method aims to reduce the cost of cultivation, reduce risks associated with farming, increase the yields, produce healthy and nutritious food. Subhash Palekar, popularly knows as the father of ZBNF, is training the farmers in AP. So far, ZBNF has been taken up by nearly 7 lakh farmers across the state.

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