Agriculture – Mainstay of Indian Economy

 

Given that all genres of science are evolving and technology is budging in almost all the sectors of economy, agriculture is an important sector having an urge for sustenance and development. Smart farming is a recent trend in this space, wherein IoT(Internet of Things) is integrated with farming to provide effective solutions such as field and resource mapping, equipment and crop monitoring, predictive analytics, livestock tracking, smart logistics and warehousing. Scarcity of water and infertile land are the major hindrances which are still restraining agricultural sector in India. Sensors provide real time traceability and diagnosis which could go hands on with automation and monitoring. These as a whole boost the crop production by analysis, control and prediction. Modern technologies such as livestock biometrics, variable rate swath control and agbots(Agricultural robots) pave way for wider scope in this field, on the other hand IoT gives the head start for Smart farming. Ideas such as Precision Agriculture and Robotic Farm Swarms are financially viable in 2020s only.

 

 

Agriculture is an ancient profession, but with growing time and use of agricultural machinery, there has been a convincing decrease in the number of people who are addressed as “farmers”. If we consider the case of United States, less than two percent of the population today works in agriculture, yet that two percent provides considerably more food than the other 98 percent can eat. It was estimated that at the turn of the twentieth century, one farmer in the United States could feed 25 people, whereas today, that ratio is 1:130. In a modern grain farm, a single farmer can produce cereal to feed over a thousand people. With continuing advances in agricultural machinery, the role of the farmer will become increasingly specialised. In India during the post-Green Revolution period, production of food grains like wheat and rice only were encouraged by the effective utilisation of new agricultural strategy, research and technology. But under the liberalisation wave, demand for agricultural exports seemed to grow, resulting in many new areas of agricultural operations becoming favourable and lucrative.

With lack of proper irrigation system, technique of dry land farming along with the other activities like horticulture, floriculture, animal husbandry, fishery etc. are being encouraged. Introduction of modern improvised techniques makes agriculture to thrive in many backward areas which were earlier exposed to widespread poverty. It is greatly accepted that the presence of essential plant nutrients in the soil in adequate quantities and in readily utilisable for maximum and rational soil management is the major key for obtaining satisfactory crop yields. Additionally knowledge of the fertility status and other properties of a soil is also mandatory. Soil testing is one of the standard techniques of determining the fertility status of the soils, thereby analysis on the base of deficient nutrients can be done or soil amendments can be made. What if we have a real time monitoring system providing the soil properties. Good soil tilth is the most critical feature of good soil management. It means a suitable physical condition of the soil and implies, in addition, a satisfactory regulation of soil moisture and air. The maintenance of soil organic matter which encourages, granulation is an important consideration of good tilth. Tillage operations and timings should be so adjusted as to cause the minimum destruction of soil aggregates. Good tilth minimizes erosion hazards. What if we have a real time monitoring system providing the soil properties and indicate various timings based on which operations can be performed.

Modern Agri Tech and its perks

Precision Agriculture is a technique wherein satellite maps and modern computers are collaged to equate the seed, fertiliser, and crop protection applications to local soil conditions. This technique promises a great hike in crop yields and reduction of wastage. To enlighten this technique, we can say it involves farming management based on observing and responding to intra-field variations. To the point, the idea is, with satellite imagery and advanced sensors, farmers can optimize returns on inputs while preserving resources at larger scales. Robotic Farm Swarms comprises of a wide network having a combination of over hundreds of agbots with thousands of micro sensors. These together replicate the role of a farmer in real time. They monitor, predict, cultivate and extract crops from the land with practically no human intervention.
Farmers no longer are imposed to apply water, fertilisers, and pesticides uniformly across entire fields if they have a solution of using the minimum quantities required, targeting very specific areas, or even treating individual plants differently. This scenario delivers optimised water, fertiliser, and pesticides usage. Minimized impact on natural ecosystems, flourished crop production and reduced chemical dispersal into water bodies are the added pros. Robotic technologies have displayed great potential in enabling reliable monitoring and reasonable management of natural resources like air and water. This in turn gave farmers better access and reach over production, processing, distribution and storage. Henceforth we can reap greater efficiencies and lower prices, safer growing conditions and safer foods, reduced environmental drawbacks.

Going Ahead…..

By inculcating proven modern farming techniques and science-based solutions, farmers have an edge in Smart Farming leading to reduced malnutrition and enhanced food security. Inherently, mentioned techniques also pay for themselves. Pooling of resources in shared ownership, seems helpful in making costlier farm equipment affordable. The increased productivity, even for small land holders, means that they can afford many of the needed inputs.

“The discovery of agriculture was the first big step toward a civilized life”.-Arthur Keith.

So lets try to make our civilized life even better.