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Use of Technology in Agriculture

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Use of e-technology in Agriculture

 

Source: Fortune India

Context: During India’s G20 presidency, member countries are focusing on transforming their agriculture ecosystems into sustainable and resilient systems.

This involves developing an integrated digital agriculture ecosystem with standards and protocols for data interoperability.

What is Digital Agriculture?

Digital Agriculture refers to the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and data ecosystems to provide timely, targeted information and services to enhance the profitability, sustainability, and efficiency of farming practices. Examples of digital agriculture include:

  • Agricultural Biotechnology: E.g., developing microorganisms for specific agricultural purposes.
  • Precision Agriculture (PA): It relies on the use of ICT to optimize resource application.
  • Digital and Wireless Technologies: e.g., weather monitoring systems, robotics, drones, and other wireless devices

 

Benefits of Digital Agriculture:

BenefitsExplanation
Increases agriculture productivityDigital tools and data-driven insights can lead to better crop management, optimizing yields and overall production.
Prevents soil degradationPrecision farming techniques can help reduce soil erosion and nutrient loss, preserving soil health.
Reduces chemical application in crop productionTargeted application of inputs like fertilizers and pesticides can minimize environmental impact.
Efficient use of water resourcesDigital sensors and data can aid in precise irrigation, minimizing water wastage and enhancing water efficiency.
Disseminates modern farm practicesInformation dissemination through digital platforms empowers farmers to adopt best practices and innovations.
Changes in the socio-economic status of farmersIncreased productivity and reduced costs can lead to improved income and livelihoods for farmers.

 

Challenges for Digital Agriculture:

High Capital Costs discourage many farmers, especially those with limited resources, due to substantial initial investments. Small Land Holdings in India complicate adopting large-scale digital technologies, as smaller plots are less conducive to certain solutions. Renting and Sharing equipment, common due to financial constraints, hinder individual technology adoption as not all farmers have timely access. Illiteracy in Rural Areas is a significant barrier, as many rural farmers lack computer literacy, impeding their effective use of digital tools.

 

Related Government Initiatives:

InitiativeExplanation
AgriStackA collection of technology-based interventions in agriculture to provide end-to-end services across the agri-food value chain.
Promotion to StartupsCurrently, India has over 1,000 agri-tech startups that play a crucial role in providing innovative solutions for challenges across the agricultural value chain.
Digital Agriculture MissionA government initiative for projects based on technologies like AI, blockchain, remote sensing, drones, and robots to advance agriculture.
Unified Farmer Service Platform (UFSP)A platform facilitating seamless interoperability of IT systems in the agriculture ecosystem, enhancing service delivery to farmers.
National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGPA)A scheme using ICT for timely access to agriculture-related information, including platforms like Farmers Portal and mkisan for advisories.
Strengthening/Promoting Agricultural Information System (AGRISNET)A scheme for strengthening the IT infrastructure of the Department and enhancing information dissemination through platforms like mkisan.

 

Conclusion:

Embracing quantum computing, AI, and big data can revolutionize the agriculture sector, akin to the green revolution’s impact. Establishing a robust digital infrastructure encompassing satellite imaging, soil health data, land records, cropping patterns, and market information is essential.

 

Insta Links:

 

e-Technology in the aid of farmers

 

Mains Links:

Examine the role of supermarkets in the supply chain management of fruits, vegetables, and food items. How do they eliminate number of intermediaries? (UPSC 2018)