International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat), which works on agricultural research and development across the drylands of Asia and Africa, is in discussions with Google, Facebook and Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) for soil mapping using spatial data analytics technology. Once materialised, the partnership will be the first of its kind which will be using the digital architecture, including drones, for best farming practices. “We are in discussions with Google, Facebook and ESRI for using remote sensing data and drones for soil mapping and weather management purposes. While the discussions are still in the initial stages, we aim to bring a creative platform for innovations that changes the lives of the farmers using newer technologies,” said, David Bergvinson, director general, Icrisat.
“The digital architecture will help in enabling next generation farming and make agriculture a profitable enterprise,” David Bergvinson said. Better use of data can help drive better policy decisions, helping solve development problems more quickly, cheaply and on a greater scale than before.
Incidentally, Icrisat has adopted Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite including machine learning and Power BI or business intelligence, to empower farmers and government officials with technology and promote digital farming practices in the state. Icrisat has an innovation hub — iHub spread over 10,000 sq ft having a 40-seater accelerator facility. “We have already launched an international agricultural innovation programme with T-Hub and many agritech start-ups have shown interest in collaborating with us,” he said.