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Digital University Kerala creates landslide zonation atlas; provides relief for rubber plantation farmers

04:53 PM Jul 28, 2021 | PTI

At a time when plantation areas are turning more vulnerable to landslides due to climatic change, the Digital University Kerala (DUK) has created a landslide zonation atlas for rubber growing areas, bringing respite for farmers. It is brought out with the support of the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRI), a statement said here.

The atlas will enable farmers to identify the susceptibility of their plantations to landslides and adopt appropriate agronomic recommendations. In addition to this, DUK jointly with Rubber Board, has developed a mobile app RUBAC to conduct a census of the rubber plantations in the country, it said.

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The census would bring out meaningful insights on the socio-economic conditions of the Rubber Growers. A collaborative project with Rubber Research Institute of India (RRI), Rubber Board, Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management Kerala (IIITMK), in 2017, had launched RubSiS, a rubber soil information system that will provide site- specific soil nutrient status and fertilizer recommendation.

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In an event held at Rubber Research Institute of India in Kottayam on Friday, a memorandum of understanding was shared between DUK, Spices Board and Rubber Board for developing an online fertilizer recommendation system for cardamom plantations in the line of RubSiS.

Saji Gopinath, vice chancellor of DUK, K N Raghavan, executive director of Rubber Board,D Sathyan IFS, chairman and secretary, Spices Board, Radhakrishnan T, Assistant Professor (DUK), Jessy M S, RRI director (research) attended the function.

Speaking at the function, Gopinath said the IIITM-K has been working together with the Rubber Board to develop digital solutions for farmers since 2017. Information and communication technologies have drifted from the peripheral role to the central stage in all sectors, he said.

"Now, the DUK is working on a comprehensive Rubber Information System Portal, which will be a one-stop portal for rubber growers with access to complete information and advisories," he said.

With the support of Digital University, an ICT tool is planned that will take up the role of extension officers who provide various advisory services to farmers.

"With such a comprehensive tool, we will be able to ensure web and mobile service, including a two-way communication option, to farmers," said K N Raghavan.

The Centre for Geospatial Analytics developed an intuitive Web Mapping of landslide susceptible zones based on the landslide risk categories, delineated by RRII, using the satellite-derived maps of the rubber plantations in the state and the district-wise landslide susceptibility zones developed by the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority. The area wise zonation map available through www.lsz.rubberboard.org.in will give farmers information on the risk categories.

According to the Rubber Board, farmers will be able to make informed decisions and follow good agricultural practices based on the vulnerability of land. DUK''s Centre for Geospatial Analytics is also working towards developing several cutting-edge applications of Geospatial Technology and AI in Rubber Cultivation, the statement added.

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