Coffee board launches digital initiatives to benefit coffee stakeholders

4th September, 2018, New Delhi: In a move that is likely to significantly enhance the efficiencies and efficacies of the coffee sector’s value chain using technologies like mobile phones and data analytics, the Coffee Board, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, launched a number of mobile phone applications for the benefit of all relevant stakeholders across the sector eco-system, on Tuesday. The initiatives were launched by Shri Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister of Commerce & Industry, GoI, in the presence of Dr. Anup Wadhawan, IAS, Commerce Secretary, GoI.

One of the applications launched, by the Hon’ble Commerce Minister, included Coffee Mobile App ‘Coffee Connect’ developed by Coffee Board in association with National Institute for Smart Government (NISG) developed by WINIT. This application will provide field functionaries with relevant information using a combination of digitisation technologies like geo-tagging etc. They will have information including plantation details (location etc.) as well as plant material, age, production, Infrastructures, machinery available, etc. The solution will help in improving the efficiency of the field functionaries, transparency in the activities of the extension officers and in subsidy disbursement and real time report generation.

“Coffee Board of India must be complimented for bringing out new interventions using emerging technologies for the advancement of coffee sector in the country,” Shri Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry.

“Giving the right quantity of nutrients and ensuring proper control is very important for agricultural productivity. The coffee board has brought in technology and this will bring huge advantages and prosperity to the growers and agricutural productivity in the country” the minister added.

One of the key reasons for launching the apps was to ensure better information exchange between the Coffee Board personnel and those on the ground growing and selling the coffee. At present there are 170 Coffee Board extension personnel providing services to 3.66 lakh coffee farmers, or 1 extension officer per 2153 farmers. There has been a 10 folds increase extension officer Farmer ratio in the past 20 years largely due to a large scale expansion of coffee area and increased number of coffee growers over a period of time. In addition to the extension services, the extension personnel also have to work towards the developmental activities, surveys etc.

“Technology, when used for good, has a distinctive characteristic of bringing positive and disruptive change. It is always evolving and it is up to us to harness the power of technology to bring in efficiency and ensure long term sustainable livelihoods to about 3.66 lakhs of farmers involved in coffee industry across the country. These applications and solutions are only the beginning. There is a long road ahead and we have much to do in very little time,” Mr. Srivatsa Krishna IAS, CEO and Secretary, Coffee Board, said.

“The applications that have been launched today are some the first in the country to use technologies like blockchain across the value chain as well as IVR based back end operations to give timely & precise advisory to coffee farmers,” Mr. Krishna further added.

Another initiative launched on Tuesday was the Coffee Krishi Tharanga, an IVR based Digital Mobile Extension Service aimed at maximizing the reach of the Board’s services in the limited time available. It has been jointly developed by Coffee Board and Precision Agriculture for Development India Foundation (PADIF). The Coffee Krishi Tharanga services aim to provide customized information and services to increase productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability. The customised services are two ways, 24 X 7 service supports.

The “Coffee Krishi Tharanga” will be pilot tested in the Chikmagalur and Hassan districts of Karnataka State covering 30,000 farmers during the first year and will be extended to remaining growers in a phased manner. NABARD has partly funded the Pilot project.

After identifying technological solutions for some of the perennial coffee production or farming issues and challenges such as rainfall, pests and diseases, Coffee Board in collaboration with EKA Analytics has developed few applications for Pilot testing including:

  1.             HYPER LOCAL WEATHER FORECAST: An app for accurate hyper-local agri-weather information along with early warning signals. The pilot is being tested in 10 panchayats in Karnataka and Kerala.
  2.             PEST (WHITE STEM BORER) IDENTIFICATION APPLICATION: This application enables the user in identification and early detection of the White Stem Borer infested coffee plants for taking timely corrective measures.

    iii.            LEAF RUST DISEASE FORECAST: An application through data analytics technique has been developed for predicting probability of Leaf Rust for every 15 days. This technology will help the extension personnel to alert the coffee farmers to take preventative & control measures in time.

  1.             BLOCK CHAIN BASED MARKET PLACE APP: An App executing a block chain based market place for the growers, processors, exporters, importers and other stakeholders that will create a transparent digital platform or market place for both domestic & international Coffee buyers and sellers. This will help in creating a brand image for Indian Coffee through traceability, and reduce grower’s dependency on intermediaries, in finding right coffee suppliers for exporters and within the stipulated time to meet the growing demands.

Utility of drone technology in agriculture was demonstrated on the occasion wherein the Hon’ble Commerce Minister remotely launched spraying operation Coffee Board in collaboration with Quidich innovation labs and Stark Drones are working on an end to end workflow for precision agriculture. Coffee plantations are spread across undulating terrains in hilly regions with most of the Coffee producing areas being based in the Western Ghats. Operations in the Coffee farms are labour-intensive and the introduction of drone-based technologies could enable the farm managers and labourers to identify diseases and pests, and undertake remedial action such as spraying of plant protection chemicals and targeted application of plant nutrients. Drones could also assist in remote identification of threats to the farm. The Coffee Board has been exploring the opportunities provided by this emerging technology, and we shall now witness the live demonstration of drone technology application.

About Indian Coffee Industry

Coffee is cultivated in about 4.54 lakh hectares by 3.66 lakh coffee farmers and 98% of them are small farmers. Coffee cultivation is mainly confined to southern states of Karnataka (54%), Kerala (19%) and Tamil Nadu (8%) which form traditional coffee tracts. To a lesser extent, coffee is also grown in non-traditional areas like Andhra Pradesh & Odisha (17.2%) and North Eastern states (1.8%), with main emphasis on tribal development and afforestation.

The Indian Coffee Industry and the Coffee Board have been making collective efforts to promote domestic consumption and exports of coffee. These efforts have led to rapid increase in coffee consumption in India from 2000 onwards with a CAGR of about 5%. The Coffee Board has partnered with four leading coffee businesses in India to establish coffee brewing/ vending machines across the country and offer high quality pure coffee beverages at affordable prices. The four empanelled vending partners using their co-branded coffee machines served freshly brewed coffee to the delegates at the programme.

 

About Coffee Board

The Coffee Board is a statutory organization constituted under the provisions of Coffee Act, 1942 and functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India. The Coffee Board’s core activities are directed towards research & development, transfer of technology, quality improvement, extending development support for coffee production, and promotion of coffee in export and domestic markets as well as export promotion both in developmental as well as regulatory framework. In an effort to increase competitiveness, the Board aims to improve all segments of the value chain.

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