Digital Innovation in Agriculture

Digital Innovation in Agriculture

What is digital innovation in agriculture?
Digital technologies like digital communication channels, automation and sensors and data science can be used to improve upon the current agricultural practices and output. The data from each farmland can be used to receive information regarding weather, soil, growth patterns, and much more data points that can then be used to prevent losses and optimize the productivity of each plot on the farm.

The data extracted from digital technology can also be shared with other experts associated with the farmers in the agro-industry; agronomists, veterinarians and other people who can make a positive difference when they collaborate with the farmers.

Digital agriculture, and its usage, can help get the best information, adopt the most efficient farming methods and also help improve the quality of the farming products. Digital also connects farmers with the right buyers. This directly increases their income.

What is Agritech
Agricultural technology is often referred to as agritech. Agritech is the application of advanced technologies through the internet to modernize and reshape the agricultural process globally. The objective of digital agriculture is to provide nutritious, safe and affordable food for all and be a perfect method for data collection for farmers and other businesses associated with agriculture.

Climate Change and Solution
Agriculture is indeed the main livelihood for a significant number of small families in all parts of the developing world. And soon, farmers will face challenges in global warming, small scale production and diseases from livestock. Do these people have the resources and manpower to stand up to climate change and protect their livelihood?

The solution? Digital agriculture, which will help farmers tackle these challenges. However, there are many challenges. Digital farming practices can be expensive, preventing many farmers from adopting these techniques. Many rural farming families are also illiterate/ uneducated, which is an obstacle to the rapid development of digital agriculture. Many farmers do not like to use social media to promote their businesses and thus are generally unaware of any advancements. They lack internet connections, and millions of such people are still offline.

Current initiatives taken by India
The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Mr Narendra Singh Tomar, announced in 2021 the initiation of the Digital Agricultural Mission 2021-2025. This initiative uses blockchain, AI, drones, GIS technology, remote sensing and robots. The agriculture ministry is collaborating with companies to run pilot programmes for more than 100 villages in many states, such as,

- Automation section control
- AI or artificial intelligence
- Tracking systems enabled by GPS, GNSS, RFID and loT
- Internet of things
- Machine learning
- Cloud computing
- Agricultural robot
- Drones and crop monitoring
- Sensors and tracking
- Smart agricultural machines
- Digital soft wares

The metrics that are being captured as part of this mission are,

- Increased productivity
- Reduces environmental impacts
- Increased profitability
- Improved marketing
- Real-time information
- Optimum use of water resources
- Record keeping of information
- Better efficiency through apps
- Better status for farmers
- No soil degradation
- Lowers cost
- Worker safety
- Academic support
- Research and innovation

Top trends in digital agriculture

Sensors are placed with image recognition technologies that enable the farmers to view their crops from anywhere. Real-time information helps farmers make immediate changes resulting in fewer wastage and losses.
Robotics is used in other industries and is now gaining popularity in the farming and agriculture industry as well. Robotics will always be popular and a topic of great interest because it reduces manpower to achieve an increased output.
Machine learning
Machine learning is used to predict which traits and genes are best for crop production. Machine learning algorithms can decide the demand for crops and help farmers make a clever decisions for their next planting season
Drones and crop monitoring
Since farmers work on many acres of land, drones are the best way to monitor farms and combat draughts. Drones can also gauge soil quality. Using drones can be beneficial as it increases the speed of spraying crops by five times compared to other machines.

Multiple private companies are entering the space of digital agriculture. They manufacture and make the technology and knowledge available to the farming community to get digitized. If the local agriculturalists are ready to create synergy and generate value, India can revolutionize agricultural practices before the end of this decade.

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