Global award for Bengal agri-pest management project

A technology backed agricultural pest management project in West Bengal has been selected for a prestigious award to be given by the World Geospatial Forum, a premium global platform for geospatial community.

Kolkata: A technology backed agricultural pest management project in West Bengal has been selected for a prestigious award to be given by the World Geospatial Forum, a premium global platform for geospatial community.

The project, "e-Pest Surveillance and Advisory System" that uses technology for quick decision making and taking action in controlling pests and crop diseases, is functioning in 51 blocks of five districts of the state.

"The project was awarded by India Geospatial Forum for geospatial technology application in agriculture in February. Now it will also be recognised at the World Forum at Geneva in May," Biswapati Mondol, pro-VC of the Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya (BCKV) told.

The Rs three-crore project is implemented jointly by BCKV and technology partner Stesalit Systems Ltd, a city based technology firm.

"The project covers data collection from the field through handheld devices, collation, analysis and interpretation of the data for solution in realtime," Stesalit Systems director Hemant Khemka said.

Earlier, the gap between data collection and sending of advice to farmers for corrective measures was several days, but now relevant advice reaches a farmer's mobile the next day helping him in controlling the problem before it aggravates, Mondol said.
Khemka said the project was on since the Kharif season of 2013 in the districts of Nadia, Burdwan, Howrah, Hoogly and Bankura.

"The outcome is excellent. We have been able to control pests and disease in rice, potato and mustard. This year a lot of potato crop was saved due to immediate action in controlling Late-Blight disease in potato," Mondol said.

He said Stesalit would be implementing similar pest management system in five districts of North Bengal jointly with the Uttar Banga Krishi Viswavidyalay (UBKV).

Khemka said SXagro, an IT tool to help manage soil resources, was capable of offering the whole gamut of agriculture management including yield projection but BCKV and UBKV has taken only pest control and surveillance module.

The project had been appreciated by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and she was keen in statewide implementation of the project, Mondol said.