We’re in an era where one can Google anything and find information. Similarly, there are now smartphone apps for virtually everything. This includes mobile apps for farmers. (No, not Farmville!)
We are talking about real, high-utility mobile apps for agriculture, which can change the way farmers work and produce our food. While smartphone Apps in agriculture is not necessarily a new phenomenon, the interest is now building tremendously owing to developments across the world. From climate change and unseasonal weather conditions to fires and pandemics – with the onslaught of several such challenges, the farmer of today needs more power, more scientific data and an overall infrastructure that enables them to work with less manpower and more automation. And that’s where mobile apps for farmers are becoming the next big thing.
Mobile apps for farmers in a post-pandemic era
The world may have stopped briefly during the outbreak of the pandemic, but you know what didn’t stop? Food production! If anything, people started hoarding supplies and cleaning off the shelves at the grocery stores across the world.
Even during the peak of the pandemic, amidst lockdowns and disruption of travel, food production continued – albeit with reduced labor that faced the monumental task of higher demand. To balance the supply and demand, and combat similar unique challenges, agri-tech stepped up in the form of mobile apps for agriculture.
With widespread 3G and 4G mobile networks across the world, mobile and cloud-based apps for farmers found a way to reach out, educate and empower them. The use of smartphone apps in agriculture not only addresses sustainability challenges we face today but it also creates financial value for both large agriculture-based companies and small farmers.
In the post-pandemic era, mobile apps for farmers are expected to not just help farmers with delivery services or trading but also in employing science to produce sustainable crops and gain profitable yields. Farmers the world over are slowly adapting and even Indian farmers are exploring the space with Indian farming apps such as Khetibuddy.
According to a study, 78 percent of the world’s households had a mobile phone in the year 2011. A large increase from a mere 20% in 2000. Even in the region of the lowest penetration rate of 67%, Sub-Saharan Africa, it is rapidly increasing. And with a large population like India that boasts closely knit communities, it is only a matter of time before agrarian communities adopt smart apps.
How are mobile apps helping farmers make smarter decisions?
The old adage ‘knowledge is power’ still holds true as mobile apps for farmers are increasingly more intuitive. With the deployment of real-time farm data, they are playing a key role in decision-making.
Mobile apps and services are being designed and launched across the world today. The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) recently released mobile apps for farmers called ‘LandInfo’ and ‘LandCover’, which can be used by farmers anywhere on their Android phones.
Why would farmers need agriculture mobile apps?
They need them now more than ever because these apps connect agricultural producers around the world and provide them with shared knowledge on ways to maximize productivity efficiently and cost-effectively. Shared knowledge is becoming more important as agricultural producers seek to meet the needs of a growing world population.
Similar terrains, geographical regions and weather patterns – along with similar crops – make shared knowledge a boon to farmers across the world. And smartphone apps in agriculture are both enabling that process of sharing and spearheading the movement today.
Do mobile apps make sense for small landholding farmers?
Mobile apps for farmers can have a significant impact on farmers, irrespective of the size of their land. Whether it is a farmer owning a few hundred hectares in rural Argentina or a small farmer owning just an acre of land in India, their problems can be solved with smartphone apps in agriculture.
Today, governments, especially in developing countries, are looking at reaching out to farmers using smartphone apps in agriculture. From spreading agricultural related information to reaching out to farmers in the poorest communities, things are relatively easier with the help of cloud computing, integrated IoT systems and online education. One of the key benefits of such connectivity is that it enables farmers to make better land management decisions, thereby helping them with increased productivity, regardless of the size of the land.
For example, farmers can monitor the condition of the soil in conjunction with weather information so as to be better equipped for the planting and harvest season. This is all possible with the use of mobile apps. Similarly, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) can be used to provide pre-emptive information on pests and animal diseases; so farmers can be prepared and respond appropriately. Farmers can also optimize the use of fertilizer, seeds, and water by utilizing mobile and cloud computing technologies.
So, yes, mobile apps for farmers definitely help even small landholding farmers. They help them save money while reducing consumption of resources, thereby minimizing the costs and making even small lands produce maximum harvest.
What to look for in an app for agriculture? (7 important features)
Sure, one can debate about the impact of smartphone apps in agriculture. But farmers do know the reality! Especially the small landholder farmer, who can barely make ends meet with their produce. Farmers like them need simple, effective and low-cost strategies. A smart and intuitive app with easy-to-use features can come to their aid.
Here are 7 important features you should look for in mobile apps for farmers:
Use of GPS tracking:
This will perhaps become one of the most useful features in farm and crop management. Imagine a farmer monitoring his entire land without having to physically patrol it. It saves a lot of time, which they can put to better use instead of manual labor.
By now, we all know the amazing capabilities of drone cameras. From weddings, landscape, wildlife to espionage, we’ve seen it all. Or have we? Imagine drones watering plants, detecting pests, harmful diseases or ensuring proportionate water distribution through thermal cameras. Drones integrated with agriculture mobile apps is really the future of crop management as we know it.
Troubleshooting farm Issues with video calls and chats:
Imagine, tech support for farmers through video consultation. Sounds like a pipe dream but the reality is that it is happening. When we can interact with doctors live on video from our homes and chat with them through apps, why can’t farmers do the same with farming experts remotely?
If we could rely on weather apps for just a few minutes of commute or make laundry decisions, these apps for farmers can help avoid disasters. They can caution farmers about weather changes, alert them to emerging trends and advise them accordingly.
Crop diseases and scheduling:
Farmers can consult farming experts on ways to prevent and tackle pests and crop diseases through interactive features on the app. Scheduling helps them keep a timetable of the crops, also regularly alerting them with updates about their crops.
Community notifications, calendar and payment gateways:
We mentioned the importance of shared knowledge earlier. With the community feature on the app, this is one of the places where it comes to play. Farmers post important updates within their community, as well as alert others of potential issues and plant diseases. In a way, they use the app as a niche-based social networking platform.
Calendars can help farmers plan their crops, covering everything from planting to harvesting. The feature can even aid in managing labor.
Integrated with the mobile banking capabilities, payment gateways help farmers make quick purchases and enjoy a seamless experience.
AI-enabled cameras and analytics:
Some apps even pack AI-equipped features, which employ cutting-edge technology in helping farmers identify early-stage diseases, detect weeds and discover potential threats – all the while contributing to and collecting from a database of information about crops and diseases.
Analytics, on the other hand, assists developers gather relevant data to understand the distinct needs and preferences of the users. This enables them to further improve the smartphone apps in agriculture with the core objective to make life easier for the farming community.
How can Khetibuddy, free app for farmers, help?
So far, we have clearly demonstrated how smartphone apps in agriculture help farmers increase productivity, profits and ensure sustainable farming. One such app is Kheti Buddy – India’s first free agriculture app for farmers, championing the use of tech in agriculture across the country.
Designed distinctly for farmers, Kheti Buddy Farm is a mobile app that focuses on improving and measuring the process of cultivation. It is developed with the insights derived from the 10 years of on-field experiences of working with 40,000+ farmers.
Using the combination of advanced technology and on-field agri expertise, Kheti Buddy is on a mission of improving farming habits that can enhance productivity. Khetibuddy is all set to become the companion of every Indian farmer, helping them manage their fields, from sowing to harvesting.
Using real-time scientific data, Kheti Buddy can personalize each crop schedule based on the soil, weather and inventory data. This guides the farmers with accurate and localized information that is tailor-made to suit their unique crop needs. From Crop Management features to community updates and market conditions – Kheti Buddy helps farmers adopt sustainable and profitable farming practices, thereby creating a better tomorrow.
Kheti Buddy is, of course, constantly engaging with farmers and collecting feedback in a quest to become ‘Kisan Ka Asli Saathi’. The app is also keen to address questions about how it can help you enhance your farming practices. So if you’re curious about how we can help you, kindly go through our website and learn more about our offering.
You can also contact us directly if you have any questions. Or better, simply download the ‘Kheti Buddy Farm’ app from the Playstore.