Building on the successful introduction of Fosholi, the advisory platform for smallholder rice farmers, Intelligent Decision Support System (IDSS) team has organized a Field Day at Amtoli, Barguna on 13 December 2018. The move is part of ACI’s strategic intervention to raise awareness regarding the various issues and stages of rice cultivation by adoption of Fosholi in the Aman season. In the presence of Deputy Director, DAE Barguna; Upazilla Agriculture Officer and Sub Assistant Agriculture Officer, Amtoli; 110 farmers from the locality; SO, RARS, Patuakhali; Area Manager, Sr. Marketing Officer, ACI; IDSS team members along with members from ACI’s business segments, the program commenced. Field day started at 10:30 am with recitation from the Holy Quran. Then, the Chief Guest and the Special Guests addressed the gathering. In their speech, the officials from IDSS Project, Mr. Shafiqur Rahman, Manager- User Engagement and Dr. Zahidul Haque, Agronomy Specialist discussed user cases of Fosholi app and requested for further co-operation from all levels of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) Staffs for its wider adoption among farmers. Representatives from other ACI SBUs highlighted the contribution of Fosholi App in building a better relationship with customers and farmers. Next, the audience went to the Fosholi Demo Plot. An area of 5mX2m rice (BRRI dhan49 and RC-222) were harvested from both the demonstration and control fields, threshed and weighed properly.
Results of the harvested crop were explained to both male and female farmers present in the event. This discussion was followed by a lecture from a demo farmer who talked about the agronomic practices of rice cultivation and the relevant support he received from the Fosholi app. Then the SAAO talked about the monthly activities of the current month and some very technical issues ranging from seed selection, pesticide selection to pesticide application procedures. Deputy Director, DAE Barguna emphasized the adoption of new agricultural technologies and mechanized cultivation techniques. Since Barguna is located in the saline zone of the country, he suggested cultivating some salt tolerant and newly released varieties of rice- cultivating BRRI dhan81 and BRRI dhan47 instead of BRRI dhan28 during the Boro season when the saline effect is active The primary objective of Intelligent Decision Support System (IDSS) for farmers is to significantly enhance the capacity of smallholder farmers, retailers and extension agents providing localized advice. The advisory services are customized, combining advanced geo-data and improved agronomic practices into actionable, crop-specific advice for farmers. IDSS service will eventually empower the farmers in solving all critical problems they face due to lack of information. Its services are available through different delivery channels including SMS, automated outbound calls, and an Android-based platform Fosholi. Farmers can get advisory services on crop suitability, agronomic practices, pest and disease alerts, weather forecasts, market information, and customized notifications through the Fosholi platform. Thus, they are enabled to make informed decisions through the entire crop production cycle. The Fosholi app aspires to be a one-stop solution containing all relevant agricultural information about all major crops of Bangladesh. Its services are broadly classified into multifarious areas: • Pre-Cultivation • Cultivation • Post-Cultivation • Weather Forecast • My Crop • Knowledge Bank • Farmer’s Toolbox • Reach to Extension Officials. More than 100,000 farmers are regularly getting relevant information and advisory service of their own area by IDSS project. Besides getting advice regarding pre-cultivation, cultivation, and post-cultivation, concerned farmers are also getting training on the proper use of developed agriculture input. Moreover, 240 businessmen of agriculture input and 960 agriculture officials are being trained as well through the platform.