SURKHET, Feb 14: Tej Bahadur Shrestha, a farmer from Pokharikaada, doesn´t get panicked when pest attacks his crop or other agricultural problems arise. He can get solution to his problems by using a computer at his village itself.
Software developed by Grameen, a venture of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, in collaboration with Intel has been installed in the computer. The software is used in countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Cambodia, among others.
The e-Agriculture project, which has been launched in the district, has brought cheers on the face of local farmers. The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD) launched e-Agriculture program in the district as a pilot project.
Chandra Risal, soil expert at the Directorate of Soil Management under MoAD, said the new technology has become a boon for local farmers. “They no longer need to visit experts for even small problems,” Risal said, adding, “They can find solution to the problems in their village itself.”
Risal also said the government would introduce the project in other districts after gauging its effectiveness.
At present, four different programs -- Mritika, Ankur, Protikar and Vistar - have been installed in the computer handed over to local agriculture cooperatives. The Mritika software provides information on soil testing, and selection and use of chemical fertilizers. Similarly, Ankur helps farmers to choose appropriate seeds.
“The Protikar software suggests farmers the appropriate software in case pesticide infest their crops,” Risal said, adding, “Vistar provides information to farmers on harvesting and marketing of products.” He further added that the e-Agriculture project helps famrers to adopt commercial farming.
The High Value Agriculture Project (HVAP) under the MoAD has launched the project in Sano Surkhet, Pokhari Kaada, Mehalkuna and Uttarganga VDCs. Agricultural cooperatives in the concerned VDCs have been assigned the task of handling the technology.
Krishna Thapa, monitoring and evaluation expert of the project, said representatives of agricultural cooperatives have been trained on the use of the technology.
Though the content of software is in English language at present, the MoAD is translating it into Nepali language within a week. “The content in local language will help to make the project more effective,” Karna Bahadur Raskoti, manager of a local cooperative, said. He further added that 136 local farmers are being benefited from the project.