How ‘Smart Agriculture’ can transform Farmers’ life

Agriculture and rural development have always been the top priorities of the Narendra Modi government, resulting in continuous increase in food-grain’ production for last six years with the total production expected to be touching record 316 million tonnes in 2021-22. This non-stop jump in food-grain production is the result of innovative measures and smart agricultural means being continuously pushed in by the government.

Keeping this focus intact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, spoke at length in a webinar on ‘Smart Agriculture’, terming it as the future. Throwing adequate light over how agriculture can be transformed and how different forces can be put to use to realize this long cherished dream of making farmers’ income double and agriculture sustainable, he also discussed the role of newly formed Ministry of Cooperation under Amit Shah, envisioning the idea of bringing in rural prosperity through cooperation. The objective of this new ministry is to transform cooperative societies into a successful commercial enterprise to benefit farmers and people living in rural areas with an eye over smart agriculture.

Appealing to policymakers and stakeholders to start executing the provisions discussed in the budget 2022-23 for the agriculture sector, PM Modi emphasized on seven ways, which have the potential to make agriculture smart enough. They include natural farming, use of modern technologies, Mission Oil Palm to reduce our dependence on import of edible oils, new logistical facilities for transportation of food-grains and other farm products, agriculture waste management, agriculture research and use of post offices in providing banking services to the farmers. These measures may substantially contribute to the transformation of the agriculture sector.

PM Modi also mentioned as to how centre’s flagship income support schemes like PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, are supporting the small farmers of the country. With the agriculture budget being increased manifold during last six years, things are fast changing for the farmers and rural economy. PM referred to the agriculture loan being increased by 2.5 times in last seven years.

Calling upon the corporate world to come in support of the farmers, branding and promoting Indian produce, he stressed on the need to promote and popularize the quality and benefits of Indian millets through seminars and other measures required to be done abroad as the year 2023 has been recognized as International Year of Millets.

PM Modi also stressed on adopting environment friendly measures and called upon the Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) to create awareness for organic farming, as both productions and exports of organic products are growing.

With a constant focus on technological interventions, now smart agriculture doesn’t remain to be fairly a new term and majority of the farmers are also increasingly becoming familiar with what exactly it stands for. However, it further requires the light to be shed on and dive deep into the benefits of using smart agriculture, termed as the future.

Smart agriculture usually refers to larger use of technologies in cultivation like drones, robots, sensors, location systems, artificial intelligence and then internet of things. Clearly, the ultimate goal is to increase the quantity and quality of the crops. This new practice also involves optimization of the human resources involved in the process.

The technologies involved in the process are- precision irrigation, precise plan nutrition, climate management and control with regard to certain crops, vegetables and fruits’ production, sensors to sense the soil, water, light, moisture, robots, communication systems based primarily on mobile connection and analytics platforms. And the connection between all these things/technologies is the internet of things. Future food production system will heavily depend on the successful integration of a range of technologies that are also environment friendly.

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