Indian agriculture and allied industries have witnessed various revolutions since 1960s to feed the large and growing population of India and to become self sufficient. Starting with green revolution in 1960s which was focused on resource productivity to feed the Indian population involved increased yields due to improved agronomic technology. In the 1970s was Blue revolution which revolved around availability of drinkable water and fish farming. During the same decade India started White Revolution or operation flood to create nation national milk grid linking producers throughout India with consumers in over 700 towns and cities. In the 80s came the yellow revolution for the growth, development and adoption of new varieties of oilseeds and complementary technologies which nearly doubled oilseeds production from 12.6 mt in 1987-88 to 24.4 mt in 1996-97.
One common factor in all these revolutions was the use of technology. The revolutions could not have occurred without relevant technologies. The technological-led agricultural development saw India emerging as world leader in many important food commodities.
But after this India has not witnessed any major revolution, but the stage is set for another revolution which will be driven by internet and smart phones. As Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has already initiated ‘Digital India’ mission and agriculture will an important part of it. After the demonetization of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency note and government’s push for digital payments, we believe agriculture is set for another revolution in the form of “Digital Revolution”
Digital Revolution Changing Agriculture and farmers dynamics
A farmer needs to be provided with the knowledge of 5Ws:
- What to sow
- When to sow,
- When to harvest the crop
- Where to sell and
- What prices
By solving these 5Ws answers the productivity across crops and seasons will automatically adjust at optimal levels.
Agri-Tech industry will be key sector in making this happen. The agri-tech sector is undergoing an exciting transformation, developing new technologies to expand food production whilst reducing the impact on the environment; pushing India towards food security for decades to come.
Key trends that will be observed in some form or the other are:
Data driven agriculture
Better availability of data and improving network connectivity will ensure that availability of more ground level data will be available from the farms as well better quality geospatial data. This data would help in building predictive models which can then be used to provide solutions such as predictive scheduling of fertilizer use, protection against pest attacks etc. Data driven agriculture will also help improve precision in the use of resources which will help optimize costs as well as resource utilization.
Internet of Things- IOT
IOT enabled technologies can completely change the way decision support technologies can help farming. We can only imagine the immense impact if the farm mechanization units can simultaneously analyze the soil composition and give nutrition requirements. In the not-too-distant future these nutrition requirements can automatically be raised as orders with the input sellers. Seeds of this future will be sown in 2017.
Precision Decision Making
Precision decision making will help deliver contextual knowledge which will help farmers take precise decisions at every stage of the farming life cycle. Technology will be the driver of the contextual delivery of knowledge which will help improve the farmers' efficiency and help drive productivity and revenue while reducing unit cost
With over One billion mobile subscribers and over 250 million smart phones (and growing everyday), the consumption of the information and services will be accessed by farmers on their smart phones on real time basis and this will results in fast decision making process. We should not be surprised if a farmer, by using his smart phone, sells his farm output from his fields.
We see exciting times for agriculture in 2017 and we could see farmer turning as real entrepreneur by using modern technology and decision support services.