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Geographical Information System

MSSRF in association with tech-gaint Oracle has signed up for a project on “Geographical Information System based forewarning model for pest management in coastal agriculture (GFPM)”, in Vedaranyam block of Nagapattinam district, Tamil Nadu. The project will be operated by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF, India) with the participation of small and marginal farmers. The project will cover 36 panchayats comprising 231 hamlets in Vedaranyam, with a net cropped area of 23,650 ha, of which paddy is cultivated in 56% of the area followed by casuarina, mango, cashew and jasmine.

Vedaranyam is located in the southern most part of district in 10°22'35.83"N  latitude 79°50'57.28"E  longitude and 20 feet altitude. The coastal agro-ecosystem is one of the fragile ecological systems and highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The crop productivity in this zone is well below the state average. The fertility status of the soil is moderate to poor and large area is under rainfed cultivation coupled with irrigation during summer season using small ponds and shallow borewells. The cropping intensity ranges from 100 to 200%. Paddy is the predominant crop in this region during monsoon season followed by pulses like blackgram and greengram in summer season. Apart from this, tobacco, jasmine and casuraina are cultivated. Vegetables like cluster bean and brinjal are cultivated in summer season using water from small ponds.  More than 90% of the farmers are small and marginal land holders, facing different kinds of risks in agriculture.  Of the several risks, insect and diseases incidence is the most critical factor in reducing the yield in the region up to an extend of 40%. The study of International Rice Research Institute also indicated that on an average farmer lose 37% of rice yield to insect and diseases (IRRI, 2012).

The insufficient skill of men and women farmers in identifying the insect/disease infection and knowledge to take informed decisions on its management. They largely depend on local agro input dealers to get the advice and inputs which lead to indiscriminate use of pesticides results ineffective pest management, increased production costs with the negative environmental impact.

Objectives of the project 

The objectives of the project are:

  1. To design and develop GIS integrated weather based forewarning models for insect and disease management for small and marginal farming community and
  2. To communicate the forewarning of pest and disease incidence and reliable management methods to them

The forewarning systems will be developed using real time weather in the location and remote sensing data as well as the forecast from Indian Meteorological Department. The forewarning system will predict the occurrence and development of the insect and disease condition according to the physiological stages of the crop, which will be integrated in the farm based GIS system to monitor and communicate the same to the men and women farmers through mobile phones.It is intend to use “between year model” for forewarning in which, past years data will be used to predict the insect population /disease severity using different thumb rule approach and statistical tools like correlation and regression. 

Using GIS, individual farm based cadastral boundaries will be mapped with the linkage to farmers profile and field history for the study area. This will help to demarcate and estimate the area under different crops in different stages.  The cropping details of the farmers in the specific season will be collected and integrated with the individual’s database.

Expected Output  

The project is expected to bring out a farmer interactive WebGIS and weather-based desicion tool for pest abd diesease management for each feild in Vedaranyam block for paddy and vegetable crops. The occurence and damage of major diseases and pests of crops could be monitored and forecasted in real time by using the system, based on the forecasting model, which will directly benefit more than 10,000 farmers in the block. 

Benefits

  • Reduced risk of pests and disease
  • Reduced amount of pesticide application
  • Potential for saving on pesticide cost
  • Decreased production cost
  • Increased income
  • Reduced chance of pests developing resistance towards pesticide
  • Reduced potential for air and ground water contamination