In September 2021, Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar introduced the launch of ‘Digital Agriculture Mission 2021-2025’. The initiative goals to leverage a variety of applied sciences from AI, Blockchain in addition to drone expertise to enhance the general efficiency of the sector.
“An ecosystem method was the one approach to tackle the agriculture sector holistically”, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare claimed in its report.
Whereas the initiative is but to be finalised, the division has constituted an knowledgeable activity pressure to strengthen the ‘India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture (IDEA)’ report.
(Picture Supply: Session Paper on Thought)
This activity pressure is anticipated to create a framework for creating ‘Agristack’, which is able to act as a basis for creating revolutionary agri-centric options by leveraging digital applied sciences to enhance the general efficacy of the agriculture sector.
This can be a welcome step by the Authorities of India. Over the previous few a long time, agriculture has developed by profiting from expertise, altering the genetics of crops and mechanizing agricultural operations. However, we have to ask, will this be sufficient? Regardless of all of the technological developments, agriculture is likely one of the least digitized trade sectors in India.
To this point, the federal government has launched numerous digital initiatives to reform the agriculture sector.
For instance, in 2016, the federal government launched the ‘Nationwide Agriculture Market’ (eNAM) – a pan-India digital buying and selling portal, to create a unified nationwide market to assist farmers promote their produce to the prevailing Agricultural Produce Market Committee. (APMC) connects the mandis. with out the intervention of middlemen.
in 2013, The federal government launched ‘Direct Profit Switch’ (DBT) Central Agriculture Portal to function a unified central portal for agriculture schemes throughout the nation. This portal helps farmers to get authorities subsidy for adopting fashionable agricultural equipment.
The coverage atmosphere in India can be favorable and is evolving in parallel with the rising wants.
“Nonetheless, quite a bit must be achieved when it comes to creating the required infrastructure.,For storage, processing and distribution of agricultural produce and for tele-connectivity”, says B Gopalakrishnan, Head-Upgrading Startup Initiatives.
Unified Farmers Service Interface (UFSI) Presumably an important constructing block of the concept.
UFSI is envisioned to affect the agriculture sector in the identical approach that UPI (Unified Funds Interface) has modified the cost panorama.
“Whereas UPI has remodeled the cost system by optimizing the underlying processes and offering a set of APIs for identification, authentication and authorization, UFSI must deal with a number of varieties of transactions within the digital agriculture sector”, Agriculture and The farmers’ ministry’ welfare report mentioned.
UFSI will enable numerous stakeholders resembling information suppliers and information customers to change information in an environment friendly, clear and arranged method.
Technological options to agricultural challenges
Lately, the Indian agriculture sector has confronted a number of challenges – primarily low yields. In comparison with growing international locations, India’s agricultural yield is 30~50 % much less. By means of expertise options resembling precision farming that leverage AI, farmers can considerably enhance their yields and productiveness.
As well as, the Indian agriculture sector is grappling with persistent issues resembling inefficient logistics, substandard infrastructure-storage, processing and distribution, leading to as much as 40 per cent crop wastage.
Rao shares that agriculture in India additionally contains finance, enter high quality and provide, agronomy, post-harvest storage, transportation and processing, advertising, worth to the buyer, environmental degradation, uncertainties as a result of climate, markets and different elements.
The ‘Digital Agriculture Mission’ is believed to have the potential to resolve these issues.
Furthermore, in an already turbulent trajectory, ‘local weather change’ is wreaking havoc on the character of farming operations and its general consequence – yr after yr water provide discount; degradation of cultivable land; meals insecurity; pest infestation; crop illnesses; Lower in high quality and amount of produce, the record of challenges isn’t ending.
,By leveraging expertise and information, ecosystem gamers can convey important productiveness good points, enhance crop high quality and yield output, enhance provide chain transparency, cut back meals wastage, empower farmer livelihoods And local weather good agriculture may be enabled., emphasis on kunal prasad,
Challenges within the implementation of digital agriculture
Using expertise to create a extra environment friendly agriculture sector is the very best method to fixing present points within the agriculture sector, however not with out its personal set of challenges.
EVS Prakash Rao factors out that India’s funding in agricultural analysis is way decrease than its international opponents. Over the previous 20 years, India’s R&D expenditure was solely 0.6~0.7 per cent of its GDP – a lot decrease than that of the US (2.8 per cent) and China (2.1 per cent).
Moreover, good information is vital for AI fashions to work effectively and amassing can show difficult. “There’s a want for a sturdy information ecosystem, via multi-stakeholder engagement, startups and industries driving digital improvements”, claims Purushottam Kaushik, head of India’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Middle on the World Financial Discussion board.
At present, there could also be technological options that may considerably enhance our agriculture sector, however delivering these options to the top customers will nonetheless show to be a problem as a lot of the Indian farmers are smallholders.
Furthermore, low digital literacy on the grassroots stage remains to be a priority. Most of them nonetheless depend on conventional resource-intensive farming methods. For these farmers to have the ability to use fashionable applied sciences to enhance their yield, they might want to have entry to plain infrastructure.
Additional, contemplating the angle of an answer supplier, Rao believes that understanding the complexity of the atmosphere – crop range, climatic zones, soil circumstances – and capturing this complexity below the digital umbrella is a tough activity. have work.
Different points resembling small and fragmented land holdings; low literacy stage; poor digital literacy; Subpar communication infrastructure; And lack of entry to formal monetary techniques may emerge as highly effective challenges in implementing digital agriculture in India.
AI in Agriculture
In accordance with a NITI Aayog report, AI in agriculture is anticipated to develop at a CAGR of twenty-two.5 per cent and attain a valuation of $2.6 billion by 2025. At current, AI helps farmers to realize greater yields via higher crop choice, hybrid seeds. Choice and useful resource utilization. Additionally it is used to assist farmers develop seasonal forecasting fashions to enhance farming accuracy and productiveness.
The proposed subsequent step is to make this expertise out there to a big section of the agricultural sector in India.
AI is already serving to farmers in several elements of the nation to know processes in agriculture, construct decision-making skills and ship value-added companies to farmers and customers.
Rao claims that AI options can present traceability to help the buyer. Within the context of Indian agriculture, these options can considerably enhance employment and bridge gaps in distribution channels by offering credit score, incentives, subsidies and insurance coverage to farmers.
Additionally, AI may be helpful for grading and sorting machines; Actual time subject monitoring and crop yield prediction; correct value forecasts; monitoring soil moisture; and regulating irrigation, and extra.
Digitizing the Indian agriculture sector is a frightening activity. The non-public sector undoubtedly has an vital function to play within the success of such initiatives. Personal gamers can create immense worth for the agriculture sector in offering digital options to farmers and customers.
Digital agriculture in India can’t emerge as a profitable enterprise with no wholesome private-public partnership. Normally phrases, the general public sector could focus extra on analysis, infrastructure, coverage and help techniques, whereas “the non-public sector could focus extra on adaptation, dynamic agricultural science, worth addition and distribution. Nonetheless, the 2 work in tandem.” and contain farmers, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and customers”, says EVS Prakash Rao.
Many of the Indian agritech firms intention to offer revolutionary options to handle numerous issues- growing traceability, lowering wastage in provide chain, real-time climate forecasting, to recommend actionable recommendation on pest management and crop illness administration. surveillance.
“Partnerships, specifically, are key to leveraging the synergies between the PPP public sector and new-age agtech gamers. Whereas the previous could convey important expertise with funding within the agriculture sector, the latter is its tech-driven, new-age agtech participant. may be supplemented with options of”, claims B Gopalakrishnan.
Purushottam Kaushik, head of India’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Middle on the World Financial Discussion board, additionally careworn on the significance of sandbox- “In partnership with agricultural universities, a sandbox of analysis establishments is required to co-innovate and validate agricultural improvements earlier than mass adoption.,