Kottayam: The city based Rubber Board under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, has introduced WhatsApp facility for rubber growers to seek scientific advice in identifying pests and diseases in their holdings. The facility was inaugurated by the A Ajith Kumar IAS, Chairman of Rubber Board in a function at Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII).
The service is operated by RRII for helping farmers to diagnose pests and diseases. In cases when a grower finds it difficult to diagnose a problem, images of the affected portion of the plant taken on mobile phone may be sent to the designated WhatsApp number. Experts from the Pathology Division of RRII will identify the problem and appropriate recommendations will be given back to the grower via WhatsApp itself. The mobile number earmarked for the purpose is 9496333117.
The rubber grower can also seek the service of Rubber Clinic online, presently being operated by RRII for diagnosing the occurrence of pests and diseases. The address of Rubber Clinic is www.clinic.rubberboard.org.in This can also be accessed through Board’s website www.rubberboard.org.in. It is a rapid diagnosis and identification system of pests and diseases of rubber. Accurate and timely diagnosis of diseases / pests and timely adoption of suitable control measures are essential for a cash crop like rubber, to maintain and improve the productivity of the trees and to increase the net income of the farmers.
RRII has identified and developed suitable control / management strategies for all pests and diseases in rubber. But in many cases, growers find it difficult to diagnose the problem in time. The Rubber Clinic is framed to help the farmers in solving such problems in the field.
At the inaugural function, Sabu P Idicula, Joint Director, RRII replied to the first message received from V N Krishna Pillai, President of Kurumkanni RPS, Kanjirappally. Dr. James Jacob, Director, RRII; V Mohanan, Joint Rubber Production Commissioner and P K Joseph, Deputy Rubber Production Commissioner, were among those present on the occasion.
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