Tejasvi Dogra, a lawyer from Himachal Pradesh undertakes new forms of technology to grow his apple orchard in the most expensive of all villages in the state, Madavag while sitting kilometers away from his farm. Tejasvi uses the speech recognition feature of Alexa which immediately activates by a touch on his smartphone. It not only switches on the automated sprinkler system, but also controls temperature and humidity, and also alerts if there are intruders in his orchard. He has successfully managed 25 acres of farm and last year adopted new techniques of growing apples in half-an-acre of land that has now acquired a high-density plantation of 250 apple trees of Red Velox and Dark Baron Gala varieties imported from Italy.
“I practice law in Shimla, and it is not possible for me to travel the distance daily or even make frequent visits to my farm. So, I integrated Alexa with a set of microprocessors and programmed it to my smartphone to remote operate my farm,” Tejasvi said in an interview.
Contradictory to the traditional plantation system, Tejasvi’s varieties were dwarf, smaller, and bore more fruit. Therefore, Tejasvi decided to enhance old farming methods into scientific technology techniques.
He programmed the system and connected it to the internet to automatically water the plants to balance the soil’s moisture thus keeping the temperature according to the seasons. The orchard is surrounded by cameras to regulate everything.
“The competition in apple farming has increased with foreign varieties entering Indian markets. To stay afloat, and maintain international standards of quality, a more scientific approach towards farming is needed.” Tejasvi said.
This process not only saves time but also labour. Tejasvi can easily yield more product by supplying water and nutrients on time using his smartphone.
“An average cost of daily labour in an apple orchard is Rs 600 per day. This amount scales up to Rs 1.8 lakh a year. And if I have even three labours, the cost of labour becomes unaffordable. There will be compromises or delays or absence to attend the field by labourers. The technology helps to achieve better outputs with a lesser workforce, as the system is remotely operated, I can practically use it from any part of the globe.”
Tejasvi said that his product has been of good quality this year and expects a 10 to 15% increase in harvest along with quality improvement because of his technological interventions. He adds, “It indicates that the harvest next year could be even better. The growth of the plants with the help of technological intervention has shown better health and growth as compared to the other plants in the orchard,”.
The lawyer assures that there are certain drawbacks to technology for example- an uninterrupted and abundant supply of electricity and internet connection. Tejasvi is now developing the technology further to understand pH value and other nutrient contents of the soil. Tejasvi also wants to share the technology with other farmers with no intent to ‘commercialize’ it.