India embraces technology to adopt smart farming strategy, boost small farmers' fortunes

Image for representational purpose only
Image for representational purpose onlyFile

New Delhi, Aug 14: India has embraced technology in every field of activity. It is adopting smart farming methods through technology and innovation in the agriculture sector and this may prove to be a game changer in the days to come by substantially raising farmers' income.

How is this method beneficial?

Smart farming involves the application of sensors and automated irrigation practices. It can help monitor agricultural land, temperature and soil moisture. This would enable farmers to monitor crops from anywhere. Moreover, smart farming can help integrate digital and physical infrastructures, which would benefit small farmers.

Agri-based startups can reach out to the farmers and help them gain access to such viable and cost-effective solutions. Agri-based, tech-driven startups have been very innovative in assisting farmers and revolutionising farming techniques. They have also addressed one of the most powerful headwinds (climate change) through climate-smart farming. In a unique move, the Indian government is implementing a Digital Agriculture Mission (DAM), which includes India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture (IDEA), Farmers' Database, Unified Farmers Service Interface (UFSI), funding to the states on the new technology (NeGPA), revamping Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre (MNCFC), Soil Health, Fertility and profile mapping.

According to a report published by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) in 2019, there were more than 450 argi-based tech-driven startups in India as of 2019. This number has skyrocketed in the last two years as the sector witnessed a surge in investments and funding.

Agri-based tech-driven startups have been very innovative in assisting farmers and revolutionising farming techniques. They have also addressed one of the most powerful headwinds (climate change) through climate-smart farming. Under the NeGPA programme funding is given to the governments in various Indian states for Digital Agriculture projects using emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML), Internet of Things (IOT), Block chain etc. Adoption of drone technologies is being done too. To promote smart farming, the government promotes startups in the agriculture sector and nurtures agri-entrepreneurs.

The 'Per Drop More Crop' component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sichai Yojana (PMKSY-PDMC) aims to increase water use efficiency at the farm level through micro irrigation technologies like drip and sprinkler irrigation systems. PMKSY is a scheme initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) promotes innovation, extension and education in agriculture. A total of 1,575 field crop varieties were released for different agricultural crops during 2014-21. During 2014-21, 91.43 crore agri-advisories were provided to farmers through mobiles. ICAR developed 187 mobile apps on different farm and farmer related services during 2014-21.

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