Thu, 30 Nov 2023

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], October 6 (ANI): While the apple growers from Kashmir have raised alarm over the losses incurred by them, three youths from Southern districts of the valley have come up with a unique way to assist the growers in saving and growing the fruit and subsequently selling the product into the markets as well.

The unique initiative taken up by the three youngsters is paving way for the fruit growers to enhance the quality and quantity of the apples.

Belonging to southern districts, Ehsan Quddusi from Tral, Izhan Javaid and Uzair Javaid from Shopian have brought a revolutionary change for the farmers through a mobile application as the information mandatory for saving and growing the produce is being shared with the farmers with just a click away.

Ehsan has been working in the tech industry for a longer period. He completed a Master's in Computer Science through Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), besides, he has worked with many MNCs as well.

Having such a background, Ehsan along with his two more friends decided to bring some revolutionary changes for the well-being of the farmers. The initiative came into their mind when in 2018, Ehsan Quddusi planned to develop his orchard without knowing exactly what measures and steps are to be taken for producing the apple.

"I contacted my friend, who helped me to develop my orchard. But, after completing the whole process, I was still unaware of the future mandatory procedures. This situation compelled me to think about those who don't have any knowledge about produce but are working hard to grow the fruit. Therefore, we (3) concluded with coming up with a unique solution to help the farmers," Ehsan said.

"We have come up with a slogan of 'better orchards always'. In the past six months, we have been able to connect with 6000 farmers and the number is increasing every day," he said, adding that this is not only a mobile application, but it comprises hardware, a proper backend system and other things, which means it is a complete horticulture platform. We are very focussed on horticulture, but mostly on apples", said Ehsan.

Eshan said that in terms of the quality of apples, our average A-grade apples are just 30 per cent only, which indicates the potential to increase our quality and quantity. Despite the availability of apple trees, government schemes and other things, the farmers still don't know how to develop their orchards exactly. There is no one to guide them, therefore, we developed the application and provided many benefits to the farmers free of cost, which includes micro-weather, which is different from IMD weather forecast, dizzy and pest production, checking the fungal diseases, soil testing and many more.

"We have divided Kashmir into 30 micro weather zones to monitor the real-time weather conditions to assist the farmers. We also do dizzi and pest production in which we study the complete lifecycle of pests and then correlate that with the weather to predict when the insect will grow to damage the tree so that the farmers get a proper alert to spray the orchard in order to prevent the damage", he added.

Diseases like fungal causes due to rains, high temperature, and other things are also being checked and the data is being sent to farmers for alert as well, he said, adding that to check the quality of the soil, they have been providing free soil tests to every farmer who joins with them. Ehsan said, "We have set up multiple soil testing labs and the farmers get the report through the app only and also get advice, though this particular application, the farmer could easily ask questions and seek information for any matter, he said, adding that a team at the backend reply to them very hastily. We are not charging for anything at present", he said.

He added that besides saving and growing the apple, they have also set up "Orchadly Mandi" through which a rate alert is being provided to the farmers through the application to help them in selling the fruit as per their choice.

"We are launching Orchadly procure shortly, which would help in selling the produce at high rates. We are also bringing in traceability and transparency in the supply chain through the bar codes so that the farmer would be able to get information where his produce has reached", he said.

The motive behind launching this application was to help the farmers to get the information at their homes so that they would be able to spend more time in their orchards.

"Of course, there was a need for this initiative; the people have been getting enough information through the application. Such an initiative has put an end to the guesswork in the fields and the farmers are now able to develop their orchards through proper scientific methods and procedures," Ehsan said.

"We want to be a complete solution for the farmers. Moreover, we are also trying to ensure financing partners for the farmers, for which the process is going on," he added. (ANI)

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