In an attempt to ease the disruption faced by the agricultural industries and more specifically the farmers, Union Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday launched the Kisan Rath Application. The app aims at easing the transportation of agricultural products, especially the perishable ones.
Kisan Rath App launched for farmers & coperatives https://t.co/499Wup7d4c— NCUI (@ncuicoop) April 18, 2020
“During lock down, farmers are finding it difficult to book tractors and trucks for transporting their produce. This app will help them bring their commodities to mandis and other market yards,” said a senior agriculture department official.
It shall provide the primary transport i.e from the farm to mandis, warehouses or the collection centers of the farmer producer organization as well as the secondary transport from local mandis to intra and interstate mandis, processing units, railway stations, warehouses or wholesalers.
The app developed by National Informatics Centre is meant to ease the transportation by the farmers and traders who are having difficulty in finding vehicles for the produce. Over 5 Lakh trucks and 20,000 tractors have been hired for this purpose. Refrigerated vehicles is also available.
The farmer has to post the quantity of the produce that he wants to transport, after posting, one shall get the availability of the trucks and price bid for the load. The load availability will be available to both merchant and transporters. The transporter can view the posted loads and respond with their availability and quotes. Once the farmer confirms, he shall receive the transporter details, and can connect directly with them. The app allows posting of part-load and full-load requirements.
The new system is expected to be a win-win situation for farmers, transporters, aggregators and the government.
We spoke to one of the possible users of the app Mr. Vasanth Kaje, an IT professional turned farmer. He hails from a farming family and looks after 18 acres of his farm in Manchi village, Bantwal taluk, Karnataka. He grows several horticulture, medicinal and forest species in his farm and has been interested in farming activities since childhood and his interest grew with age.
Speaking on the applications’ initiative, he praised the development of the app stating that some small scale players have tried doing this, connecting producers and consumers, but they have their limitations; but when Government comes in a lot of players will come in. “I see a positive picture” he added.
He doesn’t feel the app is difficult to be used by the farmers. “The farmers are tech savvy now, my own farm workers they do video calls, using Zoom and Tik Tok and all that, so for them to install if the app is user friendly, I don’t think it is very difficult for them to install and make themselves familiar; it is not necessary to be a techie to understand the app. 10-15 years back it was necessary.”
He believes that the app needs an initial popularization and the momentum will catch up.
“Anything at a national level, at least if a hint is given by PM’s page or Twitter account, I think everybody will pay attention to it and the next thing is to be done is people have to download and install. I think they have been able to make people download and install the Aarogya Setu App into a huge number of people’s mobile; I think it will not be very difficult to do the same about this app.” The PM can also mention the app in his regular addressing to the nation.
This will benefit farmers as they will get timely service, competitive prices, rating of transporters, reduction in food wastage and better price for perishable commodities. A key issue arises here as the app shall not take any responsibility for damages or theft to the consignments during a transit.
How exactly is the pandemic and lockdown affecting the farmers? Are they practicing social distancing? Is the app accessible to a large part of the industry people or what about the areas or regions which are not digitally developed or tech savvy? What is the longevity of the app? Will it be beneficial even after the lockdown? How is the government going to create awareness about the app to the farmers?
The farming industry has been overburdened due to the shortage of produce in the market. The frontliners are not only the ones who are saving lives and maintaining lockdown, they are also the ones who are putting food on our tables.