Farming 3.0: How AI, IoT and Mobile Apps Are driving the AgriTech Revolution
Indian agriculture is evolving. From IoT-based sensors to smart farming, the technological development will usher in a new dawn in the coming years
The Indian agricultural sector is at the cusp of a breakthrough. The Indian agriculture industry is going through a huge transformation, a revolution as we speak. The Green Revolution was a path breaking initiative that brought agriculture to the forefront of the Indian economy. If the industrialisation of agriculture and initiatives like the Green revolution brought agriculture to the forefront, a new wave of technological advancement and new-age startups are revolutionising agriculture as we know it.
At present, agriculture and allied industries contributes to 17-18 per cent of the country's GDP. According to research, India's population is estimated to reach 1.6 billion by 2050. Therefore, it is pertinent that we take agriculture and allied industry more seriously to boost production and to provide for the growing Indian population.
Technological advancement and new-age startups are rapidly changing the Indian agricultural landscape. Artificial intelligence, smart apps, mobile apps and Internet of Things (IoT) are now accessible more than ever and the adoption of tech in agricultural industry is on the rise. These array of changes have an array of benefits from making farming more cost efficient, sustainable, helping to boost production, boosting productivity and reducing wastes.
How IoT are redefining agriculture
IoT in agriculture can be broadly divided into four broad categories based on their application and usage: Waste management, drones for field management, machines for routine monitoring and soil monitoring sensors.
Here are some of the ways IoT are being used in farming:
Agricultural sensors: IoT enabled sensors today can give farmers a detailed analysis of both the topography and resources in the desired area. Smart farming sensors can helping farmers gather data on soil quality, temperature, humidity, ammonia concentration and other variables. It helps in real time soil monitoring and provides data on moisture, temperature, electric conductivity, ph of the soil and organic matter content. It is also instrumental in animal husbandry space to keep track of the kind of micro environment which is available for the livestock.
Smart greenhouses: An IoT-enabled smart greenhouse automatically monitors and adjusts various parameters such as temperature lighting, humidity and irrigation. It can be controlled and monitored using IoT and connected devices eliminating the need for manual labour.
Water management: Water management is a crucial part of farming. IoT-based devices can provide farmers with the crop requirement, climate conditions and land's moisture content, thereby helping them improve their irrigation system.
Livestock tracking and management: IoT-based sensors can provide detail data points on the health, well-being, temperature, activity and nutritional levels of animals thus helping to bring down the spread of diseases.
Artificial Intelligence and Mobile App Driven Smart Farming
Artificial Intelligence (AI)-led data points will be a crucial deciding factor for farming in the coming decades. AI led precision agriculture and farm management, pest prevention, agricultural robots, automated weeding and crop quality identification will help improve operational efficiency through unified supply chain and make farming smart, predictive and intelligent. AI is also playing a crucial role in symptom identification in animal husbandry space and helps is quicker diagnosis so that livestock doesn’t get impacted by a large factor and any major outbreaks can be stopped early. To take the complete benefit of AI driven tech, Indian Agricultural sector needs to solve two problems: have better digital infrastructure in rural areas and have effective data practices.
Smart apps are the next frontier of development in farming. As the number of agri tech start-ups grow, there is a proliferation of mobile based smart apps in the whole agricultural ecosystem. Mobile apps in the agricultural space are of various types: B2B farming stores that provides a platform for farmers to sell their produce in good prices, GPS tracking apps that provides key performance indicators to optimize yields, peer to peer information for closely knit community of farmers that facilitate information sharing and weather forecasting apps that predict weather changes in advance.
With the Indian climatic conditions fluctuating, being climate proof becomes extremely important. Mobile apps are providing farmers with smart predictions and changing weather patterns. Mobile apps are also helping farmers to monitor crop, water management, manage livestock, better production and operational efficiency. Various apps are also providing farmers with detailed data like quality of crop, pest management, and livestock health and feeding.
Thanks to internet penetration in rural areas and access to smart phone, smart farming is a reality now. Mobile app enabled digital farming are empowering farmers to take data driven decision making with a farm management solution. These new age apps and start-ups provide farmers with crop reports and insights, satellite input based advisory and helps maximise the efficiency of operations.
Ensuring last-mile delivery
The success of IoT-enabled, AI-led and smart app driven agricultural transformation will heavily depend on two things: digital infrastructure and last mile accessibility for farmers. With the rapid digital transformation happening in agriculture there needs to be a consolidated effort from the government, NGOs and private sector to deliver end-to-end farmer centric solutions including educating farmers on technology, building a rural digital infrastructure and giving them access to the latest tools and technology.