Editorial Notes

[Editorial Notes] How IT, communication can boost sustainable farming in India

The use of Information Technology and Communication like messaging services and mobile applications can enable farmers to get a fair price for their produce and can help in understanding ease of doing business.
By IASToppers
September 16, 2019

Contents

  • Introduction
  • The current Agriculture technology development
  • New government policies for technology development
  • Significance of agricultural technology
  • Other countries studying agricultural technology
  • What is plant factory technology?
  • How data-driven models can help in agriculture?
  • National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET)
  • Conclusion

How IT, communication can boost sustainable farming in India

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Introduction

  • The government has planned to invest widely in agriculture infrastructure to provide assured income to small and marginal farmers.

small-farmer

  • The NITI Aayog will establish and conduct programmes and research on technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate the economic development of our country.

The current Agriculture technology development

  • The mobile apps like Uzhavan app, Ag mobile, CCMobile app, IFFCO Kisan are developed keeping in mind the need of the hour requirements in farming.

Growing young maize seedling in a mobile smartphone on hand with modern agriculture digital technology concepts

  • Important initiatives like e-choupal, Agri market, Kisan Suvidha and the more recent e-NAM had been trying to place agriculture at the forefront of the development.

New government policies for technology development

  • The current budget has outlined setting up of 20 technology business incubators to develop at least 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs in the agro-rural industry.

Agriculture 1

  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY),INR 805 crores has been allocated to address critical gaps in the value chain and infrastructure through integration of the latest technology.
  • The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences and Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), in their Mission 2030, proposed the formation of an integrated unit involving Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and other institutions.

Significance of technology in Agriculture

  • It will help to achieve long-term sustainable agriculture goals of environmental health, economic profitability and social and economic equity.
  • The integration of IoT in farming can facilitate soilless culture, solution control technology, artificial photosynthesis technology, growing environment control technology (carbon dioxide density, humidity, wind pressure and speed) and intelligent irrigation technology.

Importance of agricultural technology for farmers

Agriculture

  • To analyse the crop cultivation, Geo-referencing methods are used with the help of deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles and drones.
  • The data stored in sensors and farm equipment and machinery can be shared periodically with the farmers through a mobile phone connected to GPRS. 
  • The farmers could remotely monitor and control on-field sensors like switching on/off a pump/valve when the water level in the field reaches a specific threshold value.
  • They can take important decisions with the help of deep learning algorithms involving crop management.

Other countries studying agricultural technology

  • China’s industry and information ministry have achieved remarkable success in projects like ‘Every village project’, ‘Golden Agricultural Project’, The ‘three Dian project’ based on Computer, Television and Telephone network coverage in the rural area.
  • In Brazil, a Smart Farming project lead to the creation of Smart Farming consortium to investigate the possibility of using remote sensing solutions in the cultivation process.
  • In Netherlands, the trend in variables like sunlight, humidity, temperature, rain was used to gain prior knowledge on deviations in seasons in comparison with previous years.

What is plant factory technology?

  • The integration of IoT and farming practices led to the development and conceptualization of plant factory technology.
  • To determine the size of plants, alighting sensor and a video sensor can show the distribution of the intensity of light in real-time and monitor the size of the plant.
  • The health condition of plants, with the help of plant factory technology, could be obtained in real-time by the spectral analysis of the images of the plant.
  • Data from the global positioning systems (GPS) and wireless sensor nodes (WSN) also served as powerful monitoring tools.

How data-driven models can help in agriculture?

  • From the satellite images, the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values can be deduced, which can serve as an indication of the amount of photo-synthetically active vegetation on the region.
  • Using historical analysis, the variety specific NDVI curve was established and its relationship between the variables was identified. This information was observed to be crucial in formulation of data driven models.
  • In 1980 -83, a global study found India having high NDVI values. Therefore, this could potentially serve as a key driver to increase sustainable farming practices in India.

National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET)

(NMAET)

  • It aims to strengthen and restructure mechanisation and plant protection to enable the delivery of improved agronomic practices to farmers.
  • This is planned to be achieved through interactive methods, using information and communication technology (ICT).
  • The method includes messaging services, web-based applications, capacity building, institutional strengthening, encouragement of public-private partnership and training services to guide farmers.

Conclusion

  • The Indian government has acknowledged the role of ICT in agriculture for sustainable intensive farming.

 

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