The Future of Agricultural Technology in India

A couple of years ago when technology was introduced to agriculture, not even developed countries such as the USA and UK would have imagined how smart farming could create a massive impact on agriculture’s contribution to any country’s GDP.  From bridging the gap between small and large scale businesses to improving the economical status of farmers, smart farming has had an immensely important role to play.

The introduction of GPS navigation, deployment of smartphones and Internet of Things systems in providing solutions to agricultural crisis is a proof how modern economies such as China and Japan are taking charge of their most important issues. Their governments have also realized the requirement for, and the benefits of extracting data from farmers to gain power and direction. Their initiatives are helping companies to gain insights about their current operations and optimize next step to drive the growth of the market in future.

Among other inventions is autonomous and robotic vehicles that are developed for farming functions, like mechanical weeding, application of fertilizer, and harvesting fruits. The introduction of remote-controlled drones, along with the light-weight and powerful hyperspectral exposure cameras which are used to calculate biomass development and fertilization standing of crops, opens the sector for smart farm management. Moreover, decision-tree models are available out there letting farmers to differentiate between plant diseases based on the collected data. Virtual fence technologies permit livestock management based on signals and sensors attached with the livestock.

These celebrated trends have a potential of disrupting the age-old agricultural practices. They are beneficial for developed as well as developing countries where game-changing technologies are adopted at a rapid pace.

But what keeps rising countries from moving to smarter irrigation systems? Among the main concerns to be addressed is that who controls the data? Farmers feel insecure about the idea of uploading their valuable data on the cloud. This sense of mistrust arises from the fact that there are no laws explicitly protecting that information. This is also the case with countries such as the United States, where there is little to no privacy. In any industry, data has a monetary value to it and every business makes money by selling their user data.

Hence, governments must establish a regulatory body to ensure high-level protection of the data while at the same time encouraging all the farmers to contribute their part for a better study.

*This article has been authored by Nidhi Pant, co-founder, Science for Society Technologies.

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