Agriculture: The Ever-Growing Sector
Agriculture sector contributes around 17% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India. And employs around 45% of the Indian rural workforce. Agriculture and allied industries are the primary sources of livelihood for about 58% of India’s population. With the population growth, the demand for food grain, vegetables and fruits will also increase. And this will require a substantial increase in agricultural production.
In spite of increasing demand and growth potential, the Indian agriculture sector doesn’t attract young graduates to work for it. The reason being agriculture, farming is treated as a job which requires more labor and less mind. The sector also depends on weather conditions, Quality of the crop, storage capacities, govt. policies and market conditions. However, most of these limitations or obstacles of the agriculture sector are dealt with by Smart Farming techniques.
Smart farming techniques reduce the cost of farming and increase crop yield significantly. It helps in decision making about when to sow the seed, irrigation planning and makes pest control, and harvesting process easy. And thereby revolutionizes the total farming process.
Smart Farming Techniques
- Precision Farming
Under this technique, IoT Sensors are installed at different locations on a farm like at soil level, with crop and above the soil level. The sensors send data about moisture level in soil, plant’s health, weather condition like temperature, rainfall or speed of the wind.
Big data and analytics (AI) is used to process this information and on that basis, the farmer gets an alert message.
From the alerts farmer can take the decision about when to sow the seeds, the requirement of irrigation, when to go for pest control, stages of crop growth and its health leading to lesser wastage, damage, and faster harvesting. Precision farming increases farming yield significantly at a reduced cost.
- Agbot – Agriculture Robot
Generally, the farming process includes certain repetitive and standardized tasks like weeding, pest control, and harvesting. And robots can be used for this type of tasks. Some agbots which are making farming smart are
- ecoRobotix which uses solar energy for smart weeding
- Agrobot – Eseries robot makes strawberry harvesting
- Drones as a caretaker
Traditionally we use “Chadiya” known as Scarecrows to drive away birds from farms. Now drones can be deployed to take care of the farm 24/7. Drones can also be used for pest control task and monitoring of fields and crop.
Agritech In India
As per NASSCOM(The National Association of Software and Service Companies) Report, Agritech startups are growing 25% year on year. And more than 50% of Indian Agritech startups are concentrating on providing supply chain solutions like linkage with the market, better access to inputs. However, for providing smart farming solutions few startups are working.
No doubt smart farming solutions require a lot of research, innovation, and engineering excellence but there is huge potential for startups, as agriculture is the ever-growing sector.
The Video Smart Farming of Rice In Japan