Vaibhav Summit On Precision Agriculture
- On 5th October, 2020, Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR) organized a session on “Sensors and Sensing for Precision Agriculture” as a part of the Vaishwik Bhartiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit 2020.
- It aims at strengthening the S&T base for providing the impetus to endeavour of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
- The initiative sought to bring together the thought process, practices, R&D culture of Overseas and Indian scientists/academicians and develop a road map for translational research/academic culture for tangible output.
- A total of 18 verticals have been identified for deliberation of which “Agro-economy and Food Security” deals directly with agriculture with several horizontals.
- The horizontal on “Precision Agriculture” aims at discussing recent advances in the field on sensors, remote sensing, deep learning, artificial intelligence and IoT for monitoring and quantification of soil, plant and environment to enhance farm productivity with increased input use efficiency and environmental sustainability.
- It can be defined as a whole-farm management strategy that utilises information technology and that the aim of management is to improve production and minimise environmental impact.
- It also refers to the farming system which in modern agriculture may include the supply chain from the farm gate to the consumer.
Need for PA in India
- The decline in the total productivity, diminishing and degrading natural resources, stagnating farm incomes, lack of eco-regional approach, declining and fragmented land holdings, trade liberalization on agriculture, limited employment opportunities in non-farm sector, and global climatic variation have become major concerns in agricultural growth and development.
- Therefore, the use of newly emerged technology adoption is seen as one key to increase agriculture productivity in the future.
- Enhances agricultural productivity and prevents soil degradation in cultivable land resulting in sustained agricultural development.
- Help reducing excessive chemical usage in crop production.
- Allow efficient use of water resources.
- Applying sensing devices throughout the field will allow a continuous monitoring of the chosen parameters and offers real-time data to help inform decisions.
- Provides opportunities for better resource management and hence reduce wastage of resources.
Technology related Challenges
- Precision farming requires some degree of competence in the use of software and hardware.Illiteracy among Indian farmers reduces technology adoption and trial possibilities.
- The lack of awareness and absence of dedicated education of precision agriculture among farming communities is major obstacle for its adoption.
- Lack of local technical expertise and assistance is another obstacle for precision agriculture.
Economy related Challenges
- Indianagricultureispredominantlyfeaturedassmallandmarginallandholdings, which is major constraint in adoption of precision agriculture.
- It’s quite difficult and impractical to expect this segment to adopt high cost involvement technologies used in precision farming.
- Further, PA involves highinitial cost which includes many expensive machine sand tools which are beyond the economic reach of small and marginal farmers.
Social and Behavioral related Challenges
- Indian farming is predominated by age old farming practices.
- The same agriculture practices are being carried out from generations. Resistance and rigidity are two major hurdles in adoption of precision farming.
The policy approach to promote precision agriculture at farm level-
- Identify the niche areas for the promotion of crop specific precision farming.
- Creation of multidisciplinary teams involving agricultural scientists in various fields, engineers, manufacturers and economists to study the overall scope of precision agriculture.
- Provide complete technical backup support to the farmers to develop pilots or models, which can be replicated on a large scale.
- Pilot study should be conducted on farmers’fields to show the results of precision agriculture implementation.
- Evolve policy for efficient technology transfer and ensure complete end to end technical support to farmers.