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Future Of Smart Farming In India

The latest technological innovations that are emerging as promising include innovative packagings like biodegradable packaging, portable cold storage, modified atmosphere packaging amongst numerous others.

The agriculture industry is the most buzzing sector of 2021. In the first six months of the year, it received 10.1 billion dollars of funding in 500 plus deals, and more than 40 % of these funds are for technological innovations and research for the following main focus areas, which are making the “Indian Farmer” a “Smart Farmer”.

  • Plant sciences
  • Soil and water
  • Post-harvest
  • Plant protection
  • Animal sciences
  • Agricultural engineering

These prime facets show what futuristic smart farming has in store for conventional farm practices as well as highlights its potential. These innovations will certainly boost yields by more than 35 -40% YOY in the coming 4-5 years window.

In recent times, the subcontinent has noted an increasing number of startups with a keen interest in Agriculture Technology (AgTech). While this is currently a nascent industry, the AgTech sector is brimming with opportunities. Segments like Food Tech and Water Tech are piquing the interest of several investors.

The latest technological innovations that are emerging as promising include innovative packagings like biodegradable packaging, portable cold storage, modified atmosphere packaging amongst numerous others. In the sphere of precision farming, there are cutting edge technologies such as weather modelling, soil sensors, and nitrogen modelling.

The equipment used in agriculture like tractors, play a major role in rural economies. With some manufactures launching driverless tractors that have programmable options, the entire face of farming is set to be revolutionised. By using these new-age tractors, a farmer can rest in one corner of his farm and control the tractor using a tab. Such disruptive advancements are boosting resource optimisation.

Today, farmers can use various apps to get advance weather updates, satellite imagery reports, the right time for sowing, soil reports to determine the type of crops, avail bank loans, enter into agreements of sale, implement post-harvest wastage control measures and carry out hassle-free packaging. These apps can be easily installed on their mobile phones or tabs.

On the irrigation side, multiple radical changes are happening like the use of recycled water. It saves a lot of fresh water and electricity pump costs for farmers. The modern solar and smart pumps measure moisture levels of soil and automatically start irrigation or show an alert of lower or higher moisture content, allowing farmers to remotely monitor the process from their mobile devices.

The banking and fintech sector has also undergone dramatic transformations. Concepts like faceless Agri banker offer tech-driven bank loans. To avail these, farmers don’t even have to visit the nearby bank branch. Further, they can use the money to make a wide range of purchases such as input financing via cash-less channels or by using QR codes. The modernisation of financial services has created a culture of transparency, promoted improved resource management and brought down cash spillage to a minimum.

Lastly, the most important innovation that is soon to be launched is the introduction of crop insurance. This might not be an attractive avenue for developed nations as the majority of their population is not dependent on agriculture. However, for an agrarian economy like India, it is a boon. Such measures will be critical in curbing the tedious processes of inspection, claim requests and so on that encourages red-tapism. A couple of insurance companies have already started evaluating auto claims and price risk cover insurance, which will facilitate the idea of making Indian farmers “Smart Farmers”.

While we do understand that a few changes will not be enough to ensure every producer is a “Smart Farmer”, it is essential that the innovations, processes and solutions have to be low-cost and easily adaptable. Until and unless farmers find these techniques easy, beneficial, and hassle-free, a large-scale revolution will not be possible. In a true sense, an Indian smart farmer will be a blend of Jai Kisan and Jai Vigyan.

Source: Business World

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