Government bets on digital technologies to double farmers’ incomes

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With a view to doubling farmers’ incomes, the government is working on a mission mode to stimulate the creation of digital infrastructure in the agricultural sector under the Digital Agriculture Mission.

In September 2021, the government announced the launch of the Digital Agriculture Mission 2021-2025 to support and accelerate agricultural growth, leveraging technologies such as AI, blockchain, remote sensing and GIS technology and the use of drones and robots.

The agriculture sector has recorded significant growth over the past two years, accounting for 18.8% (2021-2022) of the country’s Gross Value Added (GVA) and registering a growth of 3.6% in 2020- 21 and 3.9% in 2021. -22. Digital Agriculture Mission, will further drive this growth by helping government better reach farmers and make better policy decisions using the data repository.

Initiatives as part of the Digital Agriculture mission

The Department of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare is finalizing a framework for the establishment of Agristack in the country. “AgriStack” is a collection of agricultural datasets and associated technologies on a unified platform aimed at providing farmers with end-to-end services across the food agriculture value chain.

The agristack will serve as a foundation to build innovative agriculture-focused solutions, leveraging digital technologies to improve sector efficiency. Services and solutions that can be derived using already available data are developed as Proof of Concepts (PoC) by Agri-tech startups. These concepts will be extended to the national level after their viability has been assessed.

Funds are provided to States/Union Territories for projects involving the use of modern information technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Block Chain Technology, Internet of Things, robotics, etc

Various mobile applications including KisanSuvidha have also been developed to inform farmers about the weather, market prices, plant protection, agro-advice. The mobile apps will also contain information on dealers supplying key agricultural inputs, a soil health map, cold stores and cold rooms, soil testing labs and other government programs.

Digital apps help farmers adopt technology

National Agricultural Market (eNAM): The Agricultural Commodities Market Committee (APMC) mandis have been linked to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities under a pan-India e-commerce portal called eNAM. eNAM was launched in 2016 and helps farmers to sell their products without any mediator, thus ensuring better yields.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft in June 2021, to run a pilot program for 100 villages in 6 states. As part of the MoU, Microsoft will create a “unified service interface for farmers” through its cloud services.

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