From Tradition to Innovation | Govt approves Rs 30.40 cr project Sensor-based Smart Agriculture for J&K farmers

From Tradition to Innovation | Govt approves Rs 30.40 cr project Sensor-based Smart Agriculture for J&K farmers
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Jammu, Feb 17: The government of Jammu and Kashmir has approved an ambitious Rs. 30.40 crore project “Sensor-based Smart Agriculture” envisaging integration of agriculture with technology driven by Artificial Insemination and IoT for automation of practices, enhanced resource use efficiency and profitability.

This project, which is aimed at establishing a ‘sensor-based smart agriculture ecosystem’ would prove to be a game changer for the agri-economy of the region. The integration of agriculture with technology driven by AI and IoT will make agriculture alluring, professional and competitive.

The project would enable use of Hi-tech poly houses for cultivation of cash crops around the year with the application of IoT and automation for monitoring microclimatic parameters of plants. The green house technology will result in increased yields and make possible off season availability of vegetables as early production or late availability as compared to open field conditions.

The world’s population is growing at an unprecedented rate, and as a result, food production must keep pace with this expansion. This has put immense pressure on the agricultural industry to increase productivity and output. Agriculture, which contributes over 17 per cent to India’s GDP, employs over 54 per cent of the country’s population. In Jammu and Kashmir, over 70 per cent of the economy is based on agriculture, making it an important area for improving livelihoods through adoption of digital agriculture for increasing input use efficiency, production, productivity, and profitability.

Traditional agricultural practices are labor and input intensive, less remunerative and sensitive to weather changes. The young educated youth are leaving agriculture because of low returns, uncertainty, and drudgery. The incorporation of technology, particularly AI and IoT, into agriculture has the potential to address challenges such as low efficiency, profitability, and competitiveness. This could lead to a more attractive and professional image for the industry.

This project of sensor-based smart agriculture can be a transformative innovation for Jammu and Kashmir’s agri-economy. Under the project, a sensor-based pilot study will be conducted on high-density apple orchards, protected cultivation and smart livestock farming. The objective is to increase the use of resources and improve efficiency by up to 80 per cent and automate agricultural operations with precision in HDPs of Apple, vegetables, and livestock. The use of AI-based detection of pests and diseases using handheld sensor devices can significantly reduce the drudgery and cost of cultivation by 20 per cent. The project also aims to develop algorithms for big data analytics for remote operations of IoTs and create a startup ecosystem in smart agriculture by networking with IITs and industries. Certificate and diploma courses in AI and ML, IoT, automation and Block chain technology will be launched to train skilled manpower for the new skill sets required in the industry.

“The outcome of the project will be 50-80 per cent increase in resource use efficiency, the development of a sensor-based grading and sorting system of apple and development of a decision support system (DSS) for pest and disease management. The real-time detection and variable rate spray using robotics and drones will reduce the production cost by 80 per cent. The proposal also aims to build a sensor corridor for livestock and phenotyping and yield prediction,” said Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department.

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