A New Era of Smart Agriculture in Bangladesh

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Aiming to utilize the use of ICT to give the agricultural sector a major boost, an e village project has been launched to bring down the cost of farming and to increase the production by manifold.

The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University is implementing the project while iSoftStone, a joint venture of Chinese Huawei Technologies, is providing technological support. Center for Research and Information (CRI), a not for profit organization, will act as a strategic partner in the project. The MoU was signed in this regard today among the three organisations. The Chinese embassy in Dhaka which is helping to bring the technology as part of Beijing‟s „one belt one road‟ initiative will also act as a strategic partner. The project aims at providing solutions to adversities associated with crop cultivation and management in real time, according to Roshidul Hasan, Project Investigator.
Target has been set to develop low cost sensor-based devices for crop management, like testing soil moisture, leaf wetness, diseases and pest identification, and management, said Hasan, who is also an associate professor of the Agricultural University.

“The device will send data to the server installed at the Agriculture University which will analyse the data and send back to the farmers‟ mobile in local language both in text and audio format using an app.”
He said actions based on this real-time info can reduce input costs by 15 to 2O percent and increase output by 15 to 2O percent in agriculture production. “So ultimately farmers will get 3O to 4O percent benefits by using the technology,” he said. “If successful, we’ll scale it up”.
To be launched on a pilot basis for nine months at Pajulia village in Joydevpur under Gazipur district, the sensor device will be used to update farmers with crop management related info. Initially, 15 farmers in the village will get adequate information.
The CRI which is a strategic partner of the project said they would closely monitor and evaluate the whole project.
Addressing the event, Nasrul Hamid, a trustee of CRI, said this step would usher in a new era in the country‟s pursuit to transform the agricultural sector.
Getting engaged with development activities and research works have long been a goal for CRI. And all kind of relevant and required assistances will be provided by CRI, said Nasrul, who is also a state minister for ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources. 
Walter Fang, Executive Vice President of iSoftStone, said “We support our President Xi‟s one belt one road initiative and we are here to help Bangladesh prosper and grow. We want to expand collaboration in other areas also”.
Chargé d’affaires of the Chinese embassy Yang Shi Chao lauded the role CRI plays in bringing technologies in Bangladesh and projecting the country‟s development to the world, and said the project was the culmination of a year-long process.
Among others, CRI Executive Director Sabbir Bin Shams and Dr. Md. Mahbubar Rahman, Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Seikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU) were also present. 

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