Kunal Kislay

CEO & CoFounder Integration Wizards Solutions

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Connected Communities: Data-driven farming and emerging technologies to transform the agriculture sector

Technology in agrispace can help monitor, assess, automate, track important aspects of crop production and work with competitive markets. As simple as a mobile application, it can provide holistic, dependable and infallible agricultural mechanisms.

The agricultural developments in India have noteworthy timestamps in history. The mechanization of processes was the first, followed by the Green Revolution, wherein genetic modifications promised higher yields. The next development in line is Precision Agriculture, where crop-specific care is provided after observing minute occurrences during crop production. The aim is to optimize agricultural processes and ensure maximum ROIs.

When most of the farmers’ population has small landholdings, precision agriculture can create a major impact for them. About 550 million smallholder farmers produce food for more than 50% of the population in low-and middle-income countries. As per the World Economic Forum, these smallholder farmers often miss their dues because of information gaps, fraudulent intermediation, uncontrolled quality assurance, limited access to finance and low-cost logistics.

Technological advances can empower these farmers with knowledge, including fair supply chain systems and harvest management support. Systematic technological tools can detect problems left unnoticed to the human eye. Moreover, the amalgamation of the local knowledge and technological tools can create a strengthened agri-business model. Its key elements may include:

● crop data collection,

● data analysis by a platform,

● identifying relevant patterns and problems,

● Data backed, informed decision-making,

● implementation of customised solutions

Technology in agrispace can help monitor, assess, automate, track important aspects of crop production and work with competitive markets. As simple as a mobile application, it can provide holistic, dependable and infallible agricultural mechanisms.

Present Status of Technology

Digital Systems: App-based solutions support farmers with finance, buying resources and selling final yield. These apps help remove intermediaries, reduce the chances of fraud and facilitate coordination within the supply chain. Satellite Imaging: Useful for weather forecasting, disaster management, crop production forecast, natural resource inventory and management, Satellite imaging also provides high-resolution cartographic mapping, all-weather imaging and meteorological forecasting. It also helps personalise solutions like the number of seeds, the water quantity or requirement of any other external resources. Many Indian satellites like Resourcesat-2 & Resourcesat-2A, Cartosat-1, RISAT-1, Kalpana-1, INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR are deployed to assist the agrispace.

Drones: Drones can monitor land, especially during winters when the crops are prone to drying. It can identify key areas of concern much faster. Spraying systems can be integrated to distribute seeds as well as disseminate pesticides when required. The Variable-Rate Technology (VRT), adds to the efficiency, imparting controlled amounts of chemical solutions to the affected part of the field. Aerial and terrestrial data sources shall give us a deep understanding of plant physiology.

AI: The traditional modus operandi of crop care involves visual inspections and intuition-based solutions. AI Computer vision goes beneath the surface and suggests specific solutions as per the problem. Combined with water and crop sensors, it allows for a smooth transition from macro (drone) to micro-management systems.

The future: molding the origin, tracking the end

Fueling the potential of tech intervention in agriculture, Biotechnology and RFID tech is gaining industry’s interest. Biotechnology, with Minichromosome Technology, can tailor the target genes of plants without compromising their primary features. This will result in increased yields, minimal use of pesticides, improved flavors and nutritional quality of foods. With RFID, a barcode attached to fruits and vegetables will soon be the means to know its freshness.

In Conclusion

The aforementioned tech solutions directly impact farmers’ yield and, in turn, their income, thus generating multiple employabilities. Agritech startups are also catching pace. Ranked third for agritech startups and funding, India received about US$ 1 billion from 2017 to 2020. By 2025, the industry anticipates investments worth US$ 30-35 billion. Recently, in June, the government released funds to support farm mechanizations, establishing custom hiring centers, farm machinery banks and high-tech hubs in different states. The Electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) is another initiative. A unified national market for agricultural commodities, it comprises farmers, registered traders, and a large number of mandis.

The journey from data to decision is an important one, especially with the growing food demands of the world. With an expanding population, faster, fresher and more cost-effective solutions are imperative. Successful tech implementations in agriculture shall prevent misuse of resources, also providing fair systems of operations involved in the pre-post harvesting processes. Although India faces some concerns of tech accessibility, technological deficit to agro-social prosperity is a realistic goal for India. We are equipped to create a well-rounded agricultural mechanism that ensures crop health, delivers high yield and promises farmers’ prosperity.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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