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Digitising farming system is key for sustainable agri productivity: UAS
Saturday, 18 January, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Indian agriculture needs to have a wider technology intervention to cut the input cost in the farm sector to ensure better returns to farmers’ income. It is here that digitalisation of farming system is emerging as a progressive and positive step towards achieving sustainable agricultural productivity and minimising farmers’ distress. Use of artificial intelligence (AI) to geo-tagging of land, biotagging of livestock and barcoding of plant materials allow managing farm assets.

Digital technologies like AI, geographic information system (GIS), remote sensing, drones, data analytics, blockchain are now available to facilitate village development linked to plans and programmes.

“The adoption of digital technologies allows for some basic rethink on how farmer uses his mechanical tools, reduce drudgery and how they record, access and use information,” said Dr S Rajendra Prasad, VC, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore.

Due to the ever increasing population and food demand there is no scope for horizontal expansion of land for agriculture. Only vertical expansion is possible by integrating farming components requiring lesser space and time.

Contending with Dr Prasad, Prof. K S Rangappa, former VC, University of Mysore, said that there is a thrust on remote sensing techniques which aims at reduction in the cost of production and crop losses so that farmers are assured if higher returns as against traditional methods of farming. Using remote analysis to assess soil moisture and crop development has the potential to cut input cost and raise yields.

The usage of sensors in agriculture and rural development has proven to be effective to measure humidity, vegetation, temperature, texture, structure, physical character, humidity, nutrient level vapour and air. The sensors are also installed on weather stations, drones and robots are used in agriculture. This can be controlled and monitored through mobile apps that are designed based on wireless connectivity directly using Wi Fi or through cellular towers, he said.

There are two types of sensors used for agriculture and rural development. One is the soil moisture sensors and the other is the passive infrared sensors to detect movement of people, rodents and animals preying into the farm lands.

Even Internet of Things (IoT) is equipped to identify data transmission which is widely used to detect animal health and regulate water flow into the farm lands.

In addition, solar lights and nuclear energy enable regular power supply. The application of nuclear energy is contributing to food security. This also is successfully being used to eradicate pests. “Despite the access to a slew of technologies its adoption across farm lands is low. There is a need to help the farmer invest and also educate him on the advantages, if technologies that will provide both convenience and efficiency,” said Dr Prasad.
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