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Transformation through Data Driven Agriculture in India

Written by: Gargi Sarma, Industry Analyst @ Global Launch Base

We all are well aware of the Indian agricultural sector and its existing challenges to enhance the economy of the country. With the increase in the population, the demand for agricultural export is also increasing and the higher proportion of agricultural land with varied agro-climatic conditions acts as an advantage to boost the farmer’s revenue.

The future of agriculture is a critical issue for all planners and stakeholders. The role the government can play in nurturing and supporting an industry that is the lifeblood of over half the population is crucial. Currently, the government and other organizations are attempting to address the key challenges in agriculture starting from the small-scale farmers to supporting private organizations with the aim to increase the overall productivity and efficiency of the sector.

The Ministry of Agriculture is playing an important role in one such project which holds a lot of promise not only for the small farmers and the technology companies operating in this sector but also for the entire nation as the potential to form a data-driven infrastructure for the Agriculture sector can have huge implications for many connected industries in the economy.

Government’s new proposition towards agriculture:

The Ministry of Agriculture (India) has asked various Leading IT/ Agriculture/ FPOs/startups/ Research Bodies to submit ideas to work with this Department on an undertaking basis to develop PoCs/ Use Case Scenarios/ Layers around the Farmers Database. The ministry is prepared to enter into a one-year memorandum of understanding with the chosen partners in order to improve data-based solutions for farmers in many sectors of agriculture.

New MoUs (Ministry of Agriculture and Private Companies):

According to the recent MoUs, farmer’s data will be used to confirm their identification in order to get rights under agricultural programs with the introduction of the AgriStack project. These MoUs are entitled to help farmers across 100 villages through pilot programs in the country.

These are the companies who signed MoUs with the Ministry of Agriculture to enhance the agricultural sector in India:

  1. Microsoft India: Aiming to develop a collaborative platform and collect agricultural statistics which will include crop yields, weather data, market demand, and pricing.

  2. Amazon Web Services (AWS): Helping to build National Agri Data Stack: Assist in the development of an open and scalable platform for farmers. AWS will assist the Ministry in organizing innovation challenges and develop mechanisms for connecting startups with potential customers.

  3. ESRI India: Focusing on the creation of a framework for collecting and integrating accessible geospatial data with other related data, spatial analysis, sharing results and data, and deploying apps to assist policy planning and monitoring.

  4. Star Agribazaar: Directing to provide a dataset that will be compared to land records data using data from three central government programs, PM-KISAN, Soil Health Card, and PMFBY.

Why are such MoUs necessary?

The majority of Indian farmers belong to small and marginal categories who lack technical knowledge as well as finance which are essential for increasing productivity and enhancing the pricing. Under the new initiatives, new technologies and services such as sensors to monitor livestock, drones to analyze soil and administer pesticides are sought to enhance farm output and raise farmer’s earnings.

Benefits of the new MoUs:

The efforts which are being made to convert the challenges of the existing Indian agricultural system into profitable, simple, and ecologically friendly are expected to have the following changes in the trends of agriculture:

  1. An integrated database will provide information on all benefits and assistance supplied by the federal and state governments in one place which will offer advantages to farmers in the future.

  2. Farmer’s lives are expected to be made easier and more interesting with the use of cloud-based technologies with the control of smartphones.

  3. Agriculture retailing will be substantially digitized which will enhance traceable logistics and more transparency in the supply chain.

  4. Artificial intelligence will be welcomed largely for a cost-effective agricultural environment.

  5. Private companies will provide cost-effective innovations which will allow farmers to get a better return on their investment.

“An industry that feeds you is an industry worth fighting for” - Tierra Kesler

Emerging startups for agriculture:

With the fast advancements in technology, digitalization, and startup culture, many new players are entering the Indian startup ecosystem. Farmers in India are getting benefits from the emerging Agri entrepreneurs who are helping them with knowledge, methodologies, and efficiency to boost their incomes as well as increase their productivity with minimum use of resources.

The following are the few Agri-Tech companies that can enhance and promote the agricultural sector in India:

  • Aarav Unmanned Systems: Precision agriculture through drones

  • Cropin: Smart SaaS-based solutions

  • OneThird: Reduce food waste and food loss by predicting shelf life

  • Gearbox: Data-driven cultivation

  • Agrocares: Data based precision farming

  • eLEAF: Satellite-based application to optimize crop production and water management

  • AGRONOME: AI-augmented agriculture

  • WolkyTolky: Cloud-based monitoring station

  • SENSE FARMING: Field data analysis using remote sensing

  • Gen Drones: Next-Generation drone technology to disrupt a variety of industries.

  • Herdsy: Automation and analysis of farm animals to make profitable decisions.

Today, when the farmers are restricted by many economic factors and conditions, advanced technology such as precision agriculture and drones can assist in agriculture management. With the booming of the IT sector, there should also be an extensive revolution in the agri-industry in India by providing farmers with the necessary digital tools and information about current agricultural technology and practices from start to finish. I hope farmers acquire all of the details about agricultural innovation and sophisticated technology that will make the farms more productive and feed the ever-increasing population demand.

About Global Launch Base:

The Indian Agri-Tech industry is expected to grow exponentially to over $30 Billion by 2025. Global Launch Base specializes in bringing high-tech innovation for Agri-Tech and Conservation into the Indian Market.

Our expertise includes working with high-tech European Agri-Tech companies and working with the local farmers and actually managing our own farms. If you are a startup/ venture looking to be a part of a government initiative, we would love to help you with that.

Author: Gargi Sarma, Industry Analyst @ Global Launch Base

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