Fertilizer Recommendation Expert System

Fertilizer recommendation made easier, quicker and more resourceful

Developing an automated Online Fertilizer Recommendation System to allow for rapid processing and updating of data providing farmers with more up-to-date data at a quicker time. Show more

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eliance of rural farmers on unscientific prescriptions

Shah Alam, a middle-aged farmer in Sirajgonj district, has always had faith upon the lead farmers of his community when it came to seeking farming related advice. They had successfully instilled the idea in him that more application of fertilizer leads to better crop yield. But scientific experimentation has proven that excessive application of fertilizer can seriously imbalance soil nutrition markers.

Drawbacks of previous online fertilizer recommendation system

Soil nutrition is one of the most important parameters affecting crop yield. Traditionally, the farmers in Bangladesh (like Shah Alam) has drawn relation between better crops with more fertilizer. But this has led to imbalanced combination of nutrients and soil pollution, thus negatively affecting crop yield and farmer health. Again, farmers tend to incur excessive costs. The Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI) under the Ministry of Agriculture had been providing crop specific and location specific fertilizer recommendation service through an online system,

but the data updating was partly managed by manual system and partly managed by automated method requiring long time. Thus, it was not possible for SRDI to provide up-to-date data to the farmers.
Necessary enhancement to the system
To provide a timely recommendation of fertilizer based on soil quality and get maximum benefit from fertilizer use, the SRDI, supported by a2i’s Service Innovation Fund (SIF), has developed a module using which it is now possible to upload soil test results from the 22 regional labs by the concerned officers working there. Afterwards, the results can be used by the stakeholders including farmers through web, thus easing the whole process and reducing required time and cost for both administrator and end-users.

Leveraging the reach and deepening the impact
As part of the agriculture ministry’s mandate, the SRDI promotes the enhanced fertilizer recommendation system to farmers and agricultural actors all across Bangladesh. This system is expected to be an integral part in the country’s overall e-agriculture system that is under development. Again, the private sector enterprises and grass-root level NGOs are already getting benefits out of promoting this rich database of free and relevant information.

Case


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Online Fertilizer Recommendation: Automation of data processing and data updating

Shah Alam, a struggling farmer of Shirajgonj, had to go through some rough phases of life for all the troubles he had encountered while farming. Every time he faced…

Online Fertilizer Recommendation: Automation of data processing and data updating

Shah Alam, a struggling farmer of Shirajgonj, had to go through some rough phases of life for all the troubles he had encountered while farming. Every time he faced a problem, he had to travel all the way to the Upazilla Agricultural Centre which happens to be 30KM away from his house. This was neither feasible nor cost effective for poor farmers like him. A change was possible and they badly needed it. In solution to that, a project under SIF facilitates a component of the mother project “Online Fertilizer Recommendation System (OFRS)” implemented by SRDI.

The project is running a system which is updating information pertaining to fertilizers and their applications using an online guide in the Upazillas. This system has made it possible to provide updated information pertaining to fertilizers in the Zilla or local agriculture offices, making it possible to create an up to date online guide that has made it much more convenient and efficient for the institute to provide quality services at a lower cost. This system has also made possible for farmers to obtain information regarding soil and fertilizers from their nearest UDCs and service centers.

Previously, soil had to be tested only in Dhaka office and results had to be collected from Dhaka office. So, people and other stakeholders had to travel to Dhaka for soil testing and its results, which would have entailed extra costs, time and hassles. Under the automation of data processing and data updating project, it is now possible to upload soil test results done at different regional labs by the concerned officers with an admin password. Through the web, the results can be obtained by the stakeholders including farmers. Thus, the contribution of the project is that it eases the whole process and reduces time and cost for both administrator and end-users.

 

The project completed on time and the service is now available at the doorsteps of farmers. Farmers and other stakeholders mentioned are finding the service very useful and it is contributing to increased agricultural production as well as food security of the country.

Bangladesh is primarily an agrarian economy and about 48 percent of total labor force is engaged in this sector. The performance of agriculture sector has an overwhelming impact on the economy, particularly in employment generation, poverty alleviation and ensuring food security. Chemical fertilizers make a vital part of modern agriculture. The new high-yielding crop varieties, which are the main sources of supply of country’s food, can only perform well if they are provided with an adequate and timely supply of required fertilizers. While chemical fertilizers contribute to large yield increase, their efficient use is important for increase of production. A timely recommendation of fertilizer based on soil quality is important to get maximum benefit from fertilizer use. So, it has long been felt the necessity of an efficient and effective fertilizer recommendation system for better production of agricultural output in

Bangladesh.

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