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Internet of Things will enable sustainable production, security: Experts
Monday, 14 December, 2015, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
The Internet of Things (IoT) embedded with electronics, software, sensors and communication network connectivity is now bringing in a major transformation in the Indian agriculture sector. The emergence of smart agriculture with information and communications technology could see farmers in the country achieve sustainable production, generate steady income and ensure food security, according to a panel of experts. They expressed this opinion at 'IoTNEXT: Global Summit on Innovating Digital Economy with IoT Enabled Solutions and Services’ here recently.

In his keynote address at the summit, organised by the Indian Electronics Semiconductor Association (IESA) in association with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), and Analog Devices, R Amalorpavanathan, deputy managing director, NABARD, stated, “From weather forecasting, sowing to soil nutrition assessment, measured water application, marketing farm produce and crop pricing, we are now looking for an integrated solution.”

At the session titled Smart Agriculture and Water, he stated that NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) as part of the Digital India initiative, already had chipped in to provide self-help groups (SHGs) with tablet loaded with cloud-based apps, to help the farmers to be advised on irrigation, pest management, logistics and rain forecasts. “Now we are looking for an integrated solution for the same,” he added.

He further stated, “We view the IoT to have considerable scope and the information technology solution providers should now take a closer look to assist the Indian farmers. Moreover, NABARD under its watershed development programme has offered weather forecasting and this has also evinced interest by crop insurance companies.” 

Dr V Ramanatha Rao, representing Global Research for Support Ventures (GRSV) Consulting Services, addressing on Entrepreneurship in Digital Agriculture said that with the certainty of climate change, food and nutrition was seen to be a critical issue globally. There is decline in agriculture productivity. Some 85 per cent of small landholder farmers in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, will now need to increase food production by 70 to 100 per cent. IoT with the integration of cloud is emerging as a disruptive innovation. It is seen to revolutionise adoption of technology to prevent, predict and enhance productivity in Indian agriculture. It could help offset challenges of the farming community in the areas of detecting and controlling poor soil fertility, erratic rainfall, limited access and high cost of inputs and remunerative prices.

Delving on the innovations of smart agriculture, Ram Kaundinya, director-general, ABLE – AG (Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises, Agricultural Focus Group), said that despite India ‘s increase in agricultural production, several challenges continued to impact the farming community. This opened up opportunities for Entrepreneurship in Digital Agriculture. These included development of data capture from field using sensors, farm advisory using information, communication technology (ICT), precision irrigation methods, predictive intelligence via cloud-based platform. Now IoT will enable increasing growth opportunities and incomes for the farming community.
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