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Monday, 22 September 2014 - 16:34
India's farmers beating climate change with technology


It's the end of the monsoon season in India. But it's not been a good year.

During the sowing and planting season, when water was needed the most, rain was largely absent.

Now it's nearly harvest time and it has been raining heavily.

But for farmer Lovepreet Singh in the northern Indian state of Haryana, all is not lost.

He has been getting help from new technology, like the GreenSeeker - a handheld gadget that works as a crop sensor.

As Mr Singh points to a patch of crops, the sensor emits brief bursts of red and infrared light.

By measuring the amount of each type of light that is reflected back from the plant, the device can calculate and display the health of the crop.
He uses it to assess how much nitrogen the soil needs in each section of land.

This is just one of the gadgets he uses, meaning that what might once have been a disastrous harvest is not looking as bleak as it could have done, according to Mr Singh.

"Using technology has helped us a lot," he says.

"I get better weather forecasts so I can plan when to sow seeds or spray the plants. Otherwise I would spend a lot of money and labour on my fields and unexpected rains would just wash everything away.

"While my profits haven't gone up dramatically, technology is helping me reduce my losses."

With more than 50 acres of land, Lovepreet Singh's entire family lives off the farm. Like him, most people here are completely dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.

But not everyone can afford to invest in expensive technology - the GreenSeeker comes in at nearly 40,000 rupees (£400; $680)

So the local agriculture society helps them by procuring it and letting farmers use it for free.


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