Precision Agriculture and IoT Based Solutions (Kurukshetra December 2020) (Download PDF)

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Precision Agriculture and IoT Based Solutions

  • An integrated and holistic technology driven approach.
  • To manage the entire gamut of agricultural practices.
  • Use of Internet of Things.
  • Govt. of India՚s Target: Achieving US $ 5.0 trillion economy by 2024.
  • US $ 7.0 trillion by 2030 from the existing US $ 2.6 trillion (FY 2020 - 21) .

World Bank՚s India Country Overview Report (2019)

  • India must ensure policy focus and effective implementation on public sector reforms.
  • Holistic development of infrastructure.
  • Agricultural and rural systems.
  • Financial inclusion measures.
  • Boosting the private investments and exports.
  • Strengthening education and public health, etc.
  • Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of United Nations, 2030.

Need for 3RdTech-Revolution in Agriculture

  • India՚s population is projected to be 1.50 billion (2030) from the current 1.36 billion.
  • The food production must be doubled (United Nations Report, 2020) .
  • Traditional agriculture may not be able to meet the food needs/demand of the growing population.
  • The only feasible alternative is to embrace the ‘Precision Agriculture IoT-based Solutions’ (McKinsey Report, 2020) .

1StAgricultural Revolution

  • Focused on mechanization of agriculture (1900 - 1940՚s) .
  • A farmer produced and fed an average 26 people.

2NdAgricultural Revolution

  • Directed towards Green Revolution in Agriculture (1960՚s-1990՚s) .
  • A farmer could feed about 155 people by adoption of improved seeds, evolved farming systems, agro-management technologies, integrated pest-disease nutrient management practices, etc.

3RdAgricultural Revolution (1990՚s Onwards)

  • To dive deep and with a focus on adoption of hi-end technology, cloud-based solutions, data-driven decision.
  • Usage of analytical tools for post-harvest and marketing of agricultural produce, etc. then only a farmer can feed about 256 people as of 2020.

Precision Agriculture and Its Significance

  • Also referred to as Precision farming or Site-specific crop management or Prescription farming.
  • Describes the process of technology enabled and Integrated approach to agricultural crop management system.
  • Took birth in 1990՚s but India is yet to harness its benefits in fullest potential.

Uses technology driven solutions for managing the entire set of ‘Agricultural Management Systems (AMS) ’ for various interventions like:

  • Generating the on-site/on-farm data on continuous basis about various agricultural practices.
  • Using remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS) , global positioning systems (GPS) , and robotics & analytics for data-driven decision making in farm management.
  • Adopting latest technologies such as big-data and advanced-analytics capabilities, robotics, aerial imagery, sophisticated local weather forecasts, etc.
  • Enhancing the Good Management Practices (GMPs) in agriculture.
  • Adopting technology-based identification, analysis and managing the soil and nutrient management.
  • Using drones for spraying pesticides, insecticides, etc.
  • Reducing the cost of inputs used in farming and protecting the crops from biotic stresses like pests, diseases.
  • Improving the management of variability in space and time.
  • Equipping the agricultural-farmers with weather patterns and market intelligence information systems.

Precision Agriculture Benefits

  • Adopting the improved set of agricultural production practices and choice of crops based on suitability of localized lands and climate.
  • Optimizing the input-resources like water, fertilizers, plant-protection, measures against pests-disease.
  • Helping to minimize/avoid the wastages by technological interventions.
  • Managing the water and soil nutrients for agriculture effectively.
  • Eliminating the risk and volatility in crop-production systems.
  • Using tech-driven customized solutions for increasing farmer՚s income.
  • Found beneficial in crops like wheat, maize, soyabean, sugarcane, etc.

The Indian Scenario

  • Need to evolve systems of increasing agricultural yields.
  • Adopting advanced technologies like ‘Internet of Things.’

The emerging finance, operation and management issues demand for the innovative agri-production systems, newer models of agri-enterprises and policy interventions in aspects like:

  • Financing for IoT infrastructure.
  • Supply chain.
  • Big-data financing.
  • Recharging and repairing of network nodes.
  • Data management of IoT solutions.

IoT in Agriculture

  • Farmers can take profitable decisions based on the real-time data.
  • The IoT applications are significantly useful as they require a significant cultural change and mind-set shift among farmers and other major stakeholders.
  • The Knowledge Acquisition Framework focuses on collating information from variety of sources.
  • IoT based large-scale pilots (LSPs) in the entire Agri-ecosystem and supply chain management.
  • Development of green IoT systems likely to have super impact on farmers.

Role of Stakeholders in Precision Agriculture

  • Enabling the formulation of precision agriculture policies by Govt. of India and the State Governments.
  • Creating the awareness among Indian farming community through State Departments of Agriculture, NGOs, CBOs, FPOs.
  • Demonstrating the multiple benefits of PA, through Central/State Agricultural Universities (CAUs/SAUs) , Central Agricultural Research institutions, funded by ICAR/Ministry of Agriculture, GOI.
  • Ensuring the availability of adequate and timely agricultural credit.
  • Adopting and innovating the newer PA-technologies.

Challenges in Adopting Precision Agriculture

  • The information technology and infrastructure systems and service facilities oriented to agricultural sector.
  • Small and marginal land holdings (i.e.. , over 80 % agricultural farms are with an average 1 hectare or 2.5 acres) .
  • Socio-economic factors in villages where farmers are acquainted with their traditional systems of agricultural-practices.
  • The banking and financial institutional systems have preferential bias in financing/funding the industrial/service sector.
  • There is a need of paradigm-shift in the mind-set of all the stakeholders including government, farmers, and private players.

The Way Forward

  • The strategic policy formulation and effective implementation should be robust at both central and state govt. level.
  • The adoption of technology-oriented Agricultural Management Systems (AMS) and data-driven decision making in crop production must gain the momentum.
  • The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Model is one of the best ways forward to foster ownership and inclusive growth among all the stakeholders.
  • The large-scale investments for both PA and IoT-based solutions should involve the policy push from governments.
  • Significant investments from all parties concerned including govt. , private players, corporates, CSR-funding, FII-funding, etc.
  • The benefits/dividends of precision agriculture will be significant in the medium- and long-term perspective although the initial costs on PA/IoT systems are likely to be higher.

- Published/Last Modified on: May 9, 2021

Agriculture/Agro Industries, Govt. Schemes/Projects, Kurukshetra

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