Soil nutrient management

Previously I have written about mobile-phone based personalized alerts for crop management offered by EkGaon Technologies founded by Vijay Pratap Singh Aditya. And about KC Mishra who is developing various software tools for helping farmers manage soil nutrients and select the right seeds. The software is available at his eKutir chain of shops run by micro-entrepreneurs.

And now, we hear that Re:char, a Kenyan company is creating a device called SoilIQ that would fit on an android phone and measure soil nutrients on the spot.

I wonder if these three could be combined to create an end-to-end solution for farmers.

  1. Soil testing using a device like Re:Char’s SoilIQ device
  2. Customized advisory on soil nutrient management through solutions such as eKutir’s tools or EkGaon’s research
  3. Soil nutrient management services via mobile SMS/calls through services such as EkGaon

Of course, there are still lots of issues that make the feasibility of such an end-to-end solution questionable:

SoilIQ measures only moisture content of soil. It is still in design phase. And, the cost of  such a combined service might be too high.  Plus, farmers’ may not be able to afford android devices.  But it is still interesting to imagine such a solution, perhaps leveraging a micro-entrepreneur or NGO as a service provider might solve some of these issues.

Given the deteriorating soil conditions in the country, it would be useful to have such information easily available, complete with advise on corrective measures not just for the macro fertilizers but also micro-nutrients for the soil.

As science begins to prove the link between nutrients in the soil, in the crops grown on these soils and in people who eat these crops, managing soil nutrients becomes an important tool for improving malnutrition in India.

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