How Odisha is creating a state-wide database of its farmers
Utkarsh Vijay
March 30, 2021

Imagine you are opening the Swiggy/Zomato app to order food. Even before you place the order, the app reminds you what you ordered last time. It even shows you a customized list of recommended restaurants based on your food preference. You appreciate this personalized service and therefore use these apps regularly.

Increasingly, more and more start-ups and private firms are revolutionizing the consumer experience by using the power of tech and data. Governments are also adopting a similar approach to ensure service delivery to citizens in a streamlined manner. One such example is the Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment (DA&FE), Government of Odisha. DA&FE has been implementing multiple technology-driven programs like KALIA, Seed Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), AMA Krushi to provide hassle-free scheme and service delivery to farmers. However, the provision of these schemes depended on data systems that existed in silos and seldom talked to each other. As a result, farmers would have to register separately for all of them and undergo eligibility determination each time they applied. On the other side, the government would need to verify these applications through repeated rounds of field and document verification.

As a first step to mitigate these issues, the Government of Odisha conceptualized Krushak Odisha—a state-wide comprehensive farmer database. The database will contain the latest demographic, financial, land record, and asset-related information of all the state’s farmers.

To create the first version of Krushak Odisha, DA&FE merged four existing farmer datasets—KALIA, Seed DBT, Paddy Procurement Automation System (P-PAS), and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), based on the degree of Aadhaar seeding, size, and authenticity. This created records of 81 lakh farmers in the state. These are records are currently being Aadhaar authenticated using UIDAI APIs, bank account verification through National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) APIs/ Public Financial Management System (PFMS) APIs and field verification by officials at the gram panchayat, block and district level. DA&FE created a comprehensive and operationally implementable definition of farmers to help officials on the ground verify farmer records.

A Krushak Odisha portal has been envisaged as the single platform for all farmers to regularly update their information. Farmers will also be able to download their Krushak Parichay Patra (a unique farmer ID, like Aadhaar) from the Krushak Odisha portal. Any farmer who isn’t part of the Krushak Odisha portal already, can register herself on this portal.

Keeping the data updated

One of the biggest challenges in maintaining such databases is ensuring that data stays updated. Using a connected systems approach, the government has designed a strategy to mitigate this problem. Every scheme/service system like Seed DBT, loans, insurance would be connected to the Krushak Odisha database. The system will be able to pull the farmer's data using the Unique Farmer ID. Relevant data points like mobile number, crops grown, land size etc., filled by the farmer will flow back into the Krushak Odisha database after due verification. This type of connected systems approach will ensure that the Krushak Odisha database is up to date at all times.

Use cases

Continuous analysis of transaction data coming through various connected systems will enable DA&FE to detect anomalies like a farmer availing multiple similar subsidies or buying paddy seeds and selling pulses/oilseeds during procurement.

Information on farmers will be available to other government departments and agencies like Food and Civil Supplies for procurement operations, Odisha Livelihood Mission for Farmer Producer Groups formation and training, financial institutions for better credit linkages and agri-entrepreneurs.

The database will also empower DA&FE to streamline Agri Extension services to farmers. At the gram panchayat and block level, officers can plan and identify farmers periodically for interactions, training and scheme dissemination using farmers' data from the database. Advisories like the variety of seeds to be used, strategies for prevention from pest attacks can be created at a more granular level keeping in mind the location of land, type of land, access to irrigation etc.

Significantly, the government would now be able to create a platform on top of the Krushak Odisha database to connect farmers with aggregators, traders and entrepreneurs within and outside the state. Access to location and produce information about farmers will help industries make informed decisions about setting up operations like warehouses, aggregation and quality operations. However, third-parties wanting access to relevant data through APIs will require prior approval from DA&FE and also sign a data-sharing agreement with the department. The agreement will prevent third-parties from misusing the data.

The connected system approach used to create the Krushak Odisha database will be of great benefit to both farmers as well the service provider. It will also lay the foundation for creating multiple Swiggys and Zomatos in the agri-tech world.