e-Pest Surveillance and Advisory services for West Bengal Farmers
4th September 2013, Kalyani, West Bengal
Crop yield progressively reduces due to increase in biotic stress caused by pests and diseases. Sustaining crop production to feed the ever increasing human population is of paramount importance. Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya the premier State Agricultural University has been entrusted to carry out a fast track pest surveillance project entitled “e-Pest Surveillance and advisory services “on major food crops in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Marketing, Govt. of West Bengal. The project entails systematic pests and disease dynamic assessment, collection, collation, analysis and interpretation of data pertinent to spatial and temporal pests and diseases development on rice, mustard and potato crops in seven districts of South Bengal. These data will be recorded by specialized machine called Personal Digital Assistant (P.D.A – Sxtreo) a GPS based rugged hand held device manufactured by Stesalit, a Kolkata based company, from the farmers on the field by the pests and disease scouts engaged in selected blocks of the five districts.
Currently, this project is covering Nadia, Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan and Bankura districts. The entire gamut of activities such as reporting, detection, investigation and confirmation, analysis and ultimate advisory services will be transmitted to the farmers in electronic mode through computerized network. The advisory/ remedy of pests and diseases will be received by the pest’s scouts as SMS in their Cell phone to be transmitted to the farmers. The entire system including the PDA SXtreo and the mobile and web application (SXagro) have been developed through SXagro Agricultural Decision Support suite under active guidance and supervision of BCKV.
This real time survey and surveillance will help in fast tracking identification, detection and diagnosis of pest problems. This location specific database and timely advisories considering the economic threshold level (ETL) of pests and diseases and need based application of pesticides will help in optimum use of chemical pesticides reducing the associated environmental hazards. Another aspect of work included in the project is regular monitoring of the population of parasites and predators along with damaging pests and disease. These set of data when correlated with the meteorological parameter will help to predict in future the incidence pattern of certain emerging crop specific pest and disease scenario under changing climatic conditions.
In this project human resource development through practical training of scouts and farmers are also included. The project personnel consists of steering committee, scientific advisory committee, analytical wing, monitors and pest and disease scouts who will work in tandem to successfully implement the project objectively.
This project was inaugurated by the honorable minister of Agriculture Sri Malay Ghatak, in the presence of Dr Biswapati Mondal, pro-VC and Director, Research at BCKV, and Dr. Chirantan Chattopadhyay, Director, NCIPM.