With the rapid usage of precision data, artificial intelligence and machine learning found their place in the agriculture industry.
By Thirukumaran Nagarajan
Technological advancements have changed the face of every sector; agriculture is no stranger to such developments. Here are some ways in which technology can be a harbinger of hope for farmers across the Indian subcontinent:
This umbrella concept entails the integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into the spectrum of agriculture. It includes the joint application of Internet of Things (IoT), GPS, robotics, sensors and actuators amongst others. For instance, farmers can use drones to assess the health and growth of their crop. Based on the information thus obtained they can adopt preventive or corrective measures well in advance, consequently minimising loss. Further, sensors are being mounted on irrigators to promote efficient irrigation. These sensors survey the moisture level of soil and based on data farmers can decide the apt amount of watering the farmland requires. Such applications help in resolving the issues of over or under irrigation.
Additionally, sensors that are backed by GPS technology uses satellite signals to provide location details such as longitude, latitude and altitude, while optical sensors help in ascertaining information about the plant colour and reflectance data.
The growth of the agriculture sector can be best judged by the level of increase in productivity per unit of land. Precision farming is the key to achieve this goal as it provides one with the pinpointed data regarding the number of seeds, type of crop, nutrients, fertilizers, level of irrigation and several other parameters, required to boost productivity per unit. This real-time information is gathered with the help of remote sensing, geographical information systems and GPS. It even provides crop intensification and diversification data, while enabling farmers to make smart decisions.
Data-driven decision making
Data-driven agriculture is a form of farm management that helps farmers tactfully handle all aspects of their operations right from soil and crop performance to managing their finances. It allows farmers to make accurate, quick and smart decisions based on real facts and figures instead of merely relying on their gut-feeling. Some of the other tools used under this system are variable rate technology, yield mapping technology, weather stations and farm management software.
With the rapid usage of precision data, artificial intelligence and machine learning found their place in the agriculture industry. The deployment of these tools has led to the modernisation of large farmlands from the grass-root level. AI empowers farmers by allowing them to plant seeds of varying densities and at the same time enabling them to infuse different quantities and varieties of fertilisers across their fields.
There has been a surge of agriculture-oriented and technology-based companies recently, which are seamlessly opening doors for new opportunities whilst eradicating challenges in the agriculture sector. Standing tall on the ideas of farm to table and elimination of intermediaries, these organisations form beneficial partnerships with cultivators. With the formation of such symbiotic relations, farmers get greater access to competitive prices, technological know-how, financial aid, logistic support and a plethora of other advantages.
The advent of technology in agriculture sector has proven to be a game-changer. The future holds immense possibilities, and if used thoughtfully technology can induce yet another revolution which will change the face of India’s agriculture industry.
The writer is CEO & co-founder, Ninjacart