The E Mircha project has helped farmers in Andhra Pradesh to growing better quality of chillies (Pic. Courtesy digitalgreen.org)
While chillies may be hot for many, it has turned sweet for hundreds of farmers in Andhra Pradesh thanks to the E-MIRCHA project. The State is one of the major producers of chilli which its varieties are globally recognised for their aroma and colour.
E-MIRCHA Project is a collaboration between the State Government, Digital Green and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which aims to increase the quality and quantity of chillies in the region with the help of digital technology.
For doing this, the project has made informational videos and digital advisory channels on cultivation methods which will help farmers clear their doubts and get advice from experts through interactive voice records and Whatsapp chat boards. These videos are also beamed through Rythu Bharosa Kendras to reach a wider audience.
Apart from this, the initiative also has started a pilot project under which 10 quality testing laboratories in select areas in four districts have been set up. While tests conducted in these labs usually cost between Rs.6,000 and 10,000 in other places, here they are available for farmers at a nominal price of Rs.400 as comprehensive testing kits based on artificial intelligence are used.
So far more than 3,200 farmers have got their produce tested in the last season. The quality certificate issued by the lab helps the farmers to get better prices in the market.
To market and sell their produce, the project has tied-up with Kalgudi, AgNEXT, Spices Board, GS1, Krishitantra and ITC-eCHOUPAL to provide an e-commerce online platform to the farmers. This enables the producers to sell directly to traders without spending on commission and other charges. In the last season farmers sold produce worth Rs.44 crores.
The success of this project has inspired the authorities to plan for providing similar services and benefits to growers of other commercial crops like banana, cotton and turmeric.