Over the past few years, India’s agriculture sector has shown tremendous growth and is one of the major contributors to the country’s GDP and the economy. It is also one of the largest employers, with over half the population engaged in agriculture or related activities. Over the years, the agriculture scenario has changed significantly.
From the Green Revolution of the 60s to smart farming of today, Indian agriculture sector has been revolutionized with the new technologies. From Artificial Intelligence to GIS and the use of drones and robots, new technologies have been game changers in the way farming is carried out today.
Over-exploitation of land, shrinking farm sizes, volatile markets and climate change present major challenges.
But it is through smart farming by application of sensors and automated irrigation practices and even climate-smart farming that the sector has been able to address the powerful headwinds. Smart farming can also help integrate digital and physical infrastructure, benefitting small farmers.
By embracing smart farming, farmers can raise their income substantially. Research has shown that a 1% increase in agricultural value added per hectare can bring about a 0.4% drop in poverty in the short term and 1.9% in the long term. Add to it the use of solar power to transform the rural landscape. Solar power helps in saving precious water resources and can emerge as an additional revenue stream for farmers.
Government of India is implementing 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.
In addition, the plan to form 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) along with the Agri Infrastructure Fund (AIF) has the potential to transform these FPOs into 10,000 agri businesses. This will help further strengthen the mission of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies to extend its reach in penetrating the grassroots.
Investing in and adopting new technologies is essential for sustainable development and makes the country more stable. It is these game changers that will revolutionize Indian agriculture and take it to the next level.