Smart farming – A critical factor for next generation farming
I care for my land, and I will use Smart Agriculture to save it for my next generation
The current population of India, comprising 1.21 billion people, is almost equal to the combined population of USA, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Japan. It is likely that India’s population will exceed 1.4 billion by 2030, surpassing China’s population and making India the world’s most populous nation ( According to The Population Institute).
Farming has been our primary and most important source of food and will continue to play a crucial role in the years to come, irrespective of how much progress we make and which country we live in. Every year that passes sees advances on various modern methods of agriculture to cope with declining resources and advances in technologies seen due to continued focus on innovation. The discussion in some ways has shifted from a singular focus on productivity improvements based on genetic gain, to that of use of machine learning, digitization, soil health and microbial applications to name a few.
With the rural reach of mobile phones and now “smart” mobile phones, we have seen a transformation in the ability to share information and ever expanding content. Our farms and farmers are beneficiaries of this, with the constant improvement of the information that is available in various languages, this truly bodes well for the farmers looking ahead and promising to bring about a change, which may be difficult for us to even imagine.
Encouraging and adopting safe, sustainable and modern technology, combined with quality inputs such as seeds, more effective fertilizers, water conservation, market linkages and value chains with other supports and infrastructure, all supported by information on a device which the farmer now already has, can change the way farmer looks at the phone. The amount of information that can be packed/delivered on the phones now is phenomenal and will allow farmers to anticipate weather conditions, take timely decisions and provide right inputs at the right time raising the productivity bar with efficient use of resources. As a result, farmers can avoid crop loss, increase output, store produce and sell at a good market price to get better returns. Better returns mean that famers make better choices for their families in terms of education, health care and other life altering events. It is heartening to see several startups in agriculture space with innovative and out-of-the-box ideas and projects using ICT as a platform. ICT has the potential and is already demonstrating this, to give the required boost to leapfrog our agriculture space from where it is today. The machine learning tools are also helping our plant breeding efforts, which improve the productivity of seeds, how they use other inputs in terms of fertilizer and water and so on. Combining the best genetics with all the new knowledge will deliver the maximum value to the farmer.
These innovations are with us today!! What we need is the biggest push in the form of policies and a facilitating environment to see that innovation drives growth in agriculture and all of us see the fruits of this effort.