5 - SmartFarming Full Article Image 1SmartFarming to launch its Cotton App for Indian farmers next week.

At the Innovation Lab 2016 in Hamburg, the SmartFarming team pitched their in-progress plans for developing a smartphone app designed specifically for cotton farmers in India. The app is designed to provide tailor-made and real-time agricultural advice, connecting rural areas to the wealth of information and advice now available on organic and more sustainable farming practices. The judging panel of the Innovation Lab was convinced and awarded the SmartFarming team with the runner-up award.

Now the SmartFarming Team is celebrating yet another milestone with the long-awaited launch of the cotton app. The app will become freely available to farmers all over India starting from 16 June 2017.

The innovation lab gave us a platform to present our initiative at the OCRT. This experience helped us grow our network and inspired us by meeting so many people who are all working hard to increase sustainability in the textile sector and help cotton farmers worldwide.
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The app has been already piloted with a cotton producer group in Maharashtra. Based on feedback from farmers and the insights of field staff, the app is now able to provide tailor-made advice to individual farmers in any area of India regarding land preparation, nutrients, pest and disease management, irrigation, and harvest management.

Working intensively in the field alongside project staff and farmers, we think we understand the main bottlenecks in extension and have developed a smartphone application to support extension staff and farmers.

One of the app’s functions is a pest and disease identification tool, which allows the farmer to identify a wide number of pests and diseases, from aphids to pink bollworms. In addition, the app provides advice on how to monitor and prevent threats, as well as treat and eliminate them. The app, available in Marathi, Hindi and English, gives the farmer the means to solve their problems, enhance their farming practices and improve their business.

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A sneak peek of the app’s pest and disease identification function.

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As well as support on the field, the app is promising to offer benefits for agri-businesses in the cotton and textile sector. The app provides the perfect platform for an Internal Control System (ICS), is capable of educating farmers about certification requirements, and can be used for automatic data gathering for certification audits and improvements. Real-time monitoring and access to information makes it possible to reach the farmers with urgent issues, specific messages and instructions.

“The app can contribute to existing and new programs of agri-businesses and make their work more effective. Automatic gathered data could be used for certification audits and identify potential improvements of trainings.
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The app leads the pathway for organic, explaining the benefits of growing cotton organically. The app is not only of help for already established organic cotton farmers, but also gives support to farmers in the transition phase, and to farmers who are part of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), which allows light chemical use. However, the advice and information provided does not extend to “conventional” production, and organic farming practices are recommended as the first choice.

After the launch of the app in the Google Play store on 16 June 2017, the SmartFarming team will organise 45-minute webinars to introduce the new app. If you are interested in getting to know the cotton app, SmartFarming invites you to join one of the webinars, which are being held on the 21th or 28th of June at 14:30 IST (11:00 CET). You can register here.