Transforming Agriculture With AI And Sustainable Practices

By Outlook Planet Desk November 15, 2023

Agritech companies lead the way in revolutionising Indian agriculture, tackling challenges and paving the path for sustainability and growth

Transforming Agriculture With AI And Sustainable Practices
AI-powered assistant provides farmers with useful information about crop selection, sowing timelines, and best practises to ensure maximum yield. Shutterstock

In 2022, more than half of India's working population, around 58 percent, depended on agriculture either directly or indirectly for their livelihoods. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare of the Government of India reported that 148 million people were employed in agriculture during the last financial year.

The agricultural sector employs over half of the working population in India, making it a crucial industry for the country. However, the sector suffers from significant losses and waste every year. It is, therefore, essential for agritech companies to play a vital role by implementing innovative solutions and cutting-edge technology to revolutionise the agricultural landscape in India.

Agriculture faces a major challenge in post-harvest losses. AI integration into the supply chain and output linkages reduces these losses.
Here are some ways they are addressing it:

1. Predicting Crop Yield: Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an increasingly helpful tool for farmers to improve crop yields and reduce waste. By analysing factors such as weather data, soil conditions, and crop types, AI can aggregate and analyse vast information related to crop yields. With this data, AI can develop predictive models that provide real-time information to farmers.

This information can help them make informed decisions about plant timing, crop quantities, and care. Overall, AI has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency and productivity of farming while also reducing costs and environmental impact.

2. Detecting Pests and Diseases: Advanced computer vision models can recognise specific patterns or symptoms of pests or diseases, helping farmers take preventive and controlling measures to avoid damage.

3. Precision Farming: AI can assist farmers in optimising resource usage, such as water, fertilisers, and pesticides, by analysing data on soil moisture levels, weather conditions, and plant health. This can lead to the implementation of precise irrigation schedules, targeted nutrient applications, and more effective pest control strategies.

4. Harvest Optimisation: AI can predict farm yields, helping farmers optimise harvest by planning labour, storage, and transportation.

5. Risk Management: By partnering with top financial institutions, agritech companies can leverage AI technology to suggest personalised crop insurance policies to farmers, protecting them against financial losses in crop failure.

An Ecosystem of Solutions:

To tackle the challenges faced by the agriculture sector in India, building an ecosystem that leverages the strengths of the private sector is the most effective approach. That's why the Indian government launched the India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture (IDEA) initiative, centring around farmers and utilising open digital technologies.

Here's how IDEA works:

The AI-powered assistant provides farmers with useful information about crop selection, sowing timelines, and best practises to ensure maximum yield. It helps to plan an improved supply chain by analysing both historical and real-time data.

Moreover, it promotes precision farming by providing farmers with the right information at the right time. Finally, it helps farmers increase their incomes by guiding them with sales strategies.

The Rise of Agritech Companies:

The lockdown measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic led to the emergence of Agritech companies. These companies were crucial not only in sustaining the businesses of farmers but also in promoting growth. During the lockdown period, farmers shifted to online trading, and thanks to the help of private companies, they could discover new markets and connect with buyers to generate additional income.