Digitizing Agri Value Chain (Kurukshetra December 2020) (Download PDF)

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Digitizing Agri Value Chain

  • Major challenges confronting Indian agricultural include Unsustainable usage of resources, declining farm productivity, rapidly growing demand for high-quality and safe food, stagnating farm incomes, fragmented land holdings.
  • Sustainable and Scalable deployment technologies and infrastructure can be used to overcome the major challenges.

Leveraging Social Media in Agri Value Chain

  • Farm to Fork movement.
  • Social media enable users to express interest or disinterest in products, services, or businesses.
  • Facebook and Twitter open a wide range of doors.
  • On the Facebook group ‘love local buy local’ social media users have been taking part in challenges to promote the sale of specific crops such as pineapple.
  • A farmers՚ network in India called Harvesting Framer Network (HFN) with mobile application provides a virtual support group advice on crops and agricultural practices. HFN mobile application facilitates farm information, advisory, mandi prices and farm produce, also enables buying and selling by farmers themselves.

Mobile and Internet Penetration in India

  • As per TRAI, total no. of subscribers at the end of Dec 2019 stood at 71.84 crore.
  • By the quarter ending of March 2020, the total no. of subscribers increased to 74.319.
  • Internet and mobile usage are all set to cross the 900 million mark by 2023, with nearly two-third of the population estimated to have internet access and a mobile device which can unlock 80 % .
  • By 2022, the total no. of smartphone suers in India is likely to rise to nearly 83 crores.
  • According to Boston Consulting Group, this share of rural India will jump to 48 % by 2020.

Past Experiences of Digitalizing Framing

  • Farmer՚s portal.
  • Department of Agriculture and Cooperation.
  • Block level details related to soil fertility, storage, insurance, training, etc. are available in an interactive map.
  • Users can download farm friendly handbooks, scheme guidelines, etc.
  • Launch of Kisan Call Centers by the Ministry of Agriculture to harness the potential of ICT in agriculture.

Other Initiatives That Helped in the Creation of Social Networks Among the Farming Community

IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL) , IFFCO iMandi, m-kisan, e-sagu, e-Arik (e-Agriculture) , e-Villages, e-AgriKiosk and m-4-agriNEI of the Central Agricultural University, in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya States of North-east, Community Radio (CR) , e-Choupal, Fisher Friend Mobile Application (FFMA) and Parry՚s Corner by East India Distilleries (EID) Parry.

Recent Initiatives in Digitalizing Agriculture

  • The government of India launched digital initiatives by Export Inspection Council (EIC) .
  • Three portals have been developed to reduce transaction time and cost:
    • Safe food traceability.
    • Single laboratory for accreditation and approvals.
    • Monitoring export alerts from importing regulators.
  • As on 15th Nov, 2020 under the PM Kisan Yojana, the govt. has enrolled 11, 32,55, 666 beneficiaries. Out of these, 9, 30,15, 330 have bene paid the first instalment of ₹ 2,000.
  • Soil Health Card Scheme was launched in 2015 to assist State Govts. to issue Soil Health Cards to all the farmers in the country. So far 6954 villages have been identified by the States/UTs from which 20.18 lakh samples have been collected, 14.65 lakh samples have been analyzed and 13.54 lakh cards have been distributed.
  • The Coffee Board has developed a Coffee Connect -Mobile App for providing advisory services to the coffee growers.
  • Digital connectivity in all schools to provide quality education and training by using MOOCs on SWAYAM.
  • The National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) -Centre for Innovation and Agripreneurship (CIA) incubates and mentors no. of digital agriculture startups using AI, IoTs, MI, Machine Learning, and remote sensing technologies for digitalizing agriculture.

Meghdoot-Mobile Application

  • Provides forecast related to temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed and direction.
  • Taking care of the crops and livestock.
  • Kisan Suvidha App and Pusa Krishi Mobile App have 10,63, 080 and 40,753 downloads respectively since their launch.

The 1917 ITEAMs, Meghalaya

  • An extension programme for market-oriented, cloud-based facilitation.
  • Farm advisory service that connects farmers to markets through real time agro advisories, affordable logistics and market information The 1917 iTEAMS, Meghalaya
  • Connecting Farmers to Markets
  • Earlier was pilot tested as a research project titled m-4-agriNEI, an integrated information dissemination system by integrating IVRS, Mobile Application, web portal, SMS, and MMS advisory among the marginal and small land holding farmers of Meghalaya state of North-east India and Andhra Pradesh State of South-India, since 2012 - 2017 by the Central Agricultural University (CAU) and Digital India Corporation (DIC) .

Agri Market App

  • Mobile application to keep farmers abreast with the crop prices and discourage them to carry out distress sale.
  • The International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) received as Microsoft AI for earth grant implemented in Andhra Pradesh in 2018.


  • An AI-powered technology.
  • Helping farmers check soil and water health.
  • AgroPad 10 developed by IBM is a paper device about the size of a business card.
  • In less than 10 seconds, the microfluidics chip inside the card performs on the spot a chemical analysis of the sample produces result.

Swamitva Scheme

Drones will draw a digital map of every property falling within the geographical limits of a village and demarcate the boundaries of every revenue area.

Grain Bank Model

  • The most unique models Ergos has in the Agri-tech landscape.
  • Provides doorstep access to end-to-end post-harvest supply chain solutions to small and marginal farmers.

Digital Green

  • An organization that trains Indian farmers in sustainable practices.
  • Developing a voice-enabled WhatsApp chatbot.
  • Technology will provide seamless market connections.
  • Enabling smallholder farmers to improve their incomes amid economic disruptions caused by COVID-19.
  • Plant and crop disease identification over WhatsApp developed by PEAT, a German startup, Plantix 11 is a mobile application which is a massive database of pictures of plant disease. Plantix was launched in 2018 by Karnataka government to smartly detect pests, plant diseases and nutrient deficiencies.
  • Telangana government launched its new Integrated Land Records Management System or Dharani Portal for property registrations.
Digital Green

Challenges Faced by Farmers in Adopting Digitalization in Agriculture

  • No policy and operational guidelines to use digital media and ICTs.
  • Limited capacity and skill in effectively using digital media and technologies among knowledge intermediaries (extension personnel) .
  • Lack of timely information on farm inputs, unorganized credit, and absence of market linkages in adopting new technologies.
  • Reach of e-technology in rural areas is poor and even the technology distribution is uneven throughout the country.
  • Famers are either taking time to adopt new technologies or they are not adopting them at all.
  • Insufficient connectivity along with lack of basic computers and smartphone usage skill and knowledge apart from high costs for services and less literacy hinder rapid development of digitalization in agriculture.

Way Forward

  • Affordability of technology, ease of access and operations, easy maintenance of systems, timely grievance redressal and appropriate policy support.
  • The innovations must focus on lowering the cost of technology.
  • Digitalization of farming related reliable and quality data is of paramount importance.
  • The full potential of ICT, big data, AI, IoTs, Block Chain and Machine Learning along with precision agriculture will need to be harnessed to the task of generating sustainable productivity growth, resolving the water crisis, coping with climate change, and ensuring better market price.
  • The private sector can play a crucial role in expanding e-commerce and other platforms into food supply chains.
  • More and continuous long-term investment is needed in public sector.
  • Agriculture related research academic institutions, agricultural extension service providing departments, agri-startups and agripreneurs, NGOs, FPOs should also orient themselves.
  • A need for robust research and development to empower Indian farmers.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 9, 2021

Science/Technology, Health, Kurukshetra

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