The Spices Board, the Rubber Board and the Digital University of Kerala shared an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to use modern techniques to generate spatial models of soil nutrients in the cardamom tracts and to develop an android-based mobile application for cardamom growers to enable site-specific, need based fertiliser recommendation.
D Sathiyan, secretary, Spices Board, said, “Through this initiative, farmers will be able to access location-specific soil nutrient status and fertiliser recommendation online, once the geographical location of the holding is identified with GPS. “Changes in the fertility status over a period of time can also be assessed with the help of geo-referenced soil fertility maps.”
The app is a crucial part of land-management with the focus on variations in soil varieties and soil characteristics to define specific interventions that are primarily aimed to improve the quality of soil for the selected land use. Specific soil management practices are the need of hour to protect and conserve the soil resources for our future generations.
Prudent use of fertilizers and site-specific nutrient management are crucial for economic and environmental reasons. Indian Cardamom Research Institute, Myladumpara (Research wing of the Spices Board) had started the collaborative project with the Rubber Research Institute of India, Rubber Board, and the Geospatial Analytics Division of the Digital University (formerly IIITM-K).
This project will cover and document major, secondary & micronutrient status of cardamom growing regions and use geo-statistical methodologies to create spatial models of soil nutrients and furnish information to farmers through this app.
Under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Spices Board is one of the five commodity boards and it is accountable for the export promotion of 52 scheduled spices and development of small and large cardamom.
Major producers of small cardamom are Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. According to the Spices Board, an advanced estimate for 2020-21, around 69,000 hectares are under the crop in the country with a production of 22,500 tonnes.