Internet of Things (IoT) is flourishing in every industry. This concept took hold in some familiar places like our home, cars, cities and factories, but what about our agricultural industry? Can Internet of things bring a change in the way we produce food? You may also ask that “How can so seemingly different concepts, digital technology and agriculture, find application together”?
This is possible with the help of data. With the Data that can be derived from the fields, water, air and even the livestock help farmers better informed of their land, crops and animals. Several monitoring systems such as soil monitors, atmospheric monitors, aerial drones and animal tags are being deployed on farms around the world to help farmers to make better decisions. Soil monitors can detect variables like ground temperature and moisture levels. Atmospheric monitors can detect weather conditions in pinpointed locations. Flyover drones can indicate, if seeds have sprouted and animal monitors can track not just location but also provide indicators of potential illness.
When looking this at an industry wide level, the goals and benefits of all this is substantial. Smart farming is actively trying to make our farms less detrimental to the environment. This also helps in
– increased crop yields
– reduced water consumption
– streamlining farming processes
– improve the bottom line
Take an example of the Cow Tracking Project and the technology behind it:
- The team behind the Cow Tracking Project attach a GPS device to each cow, and placed sensors around their shed to monitor their movements and sleeping habits.
- The information was then sent to the farmer’s computer. Disruptions in a cow’s regular pattern (e.g. sleeping more or moving around less than usual) could signal illness
- Daily updates can help the farmer quickly catch these changes.
Role of mobile technology in agriculture
Mobile technology has been increasingly used to enhance agricultural productivity.
Access to updated market pricing is essential if farmers are going to increase their profitability, and in turn, increase production rates. With networks and APIs, telecoms can be a key enabler helping the agricultural industry to join the IoT.
Agriculture Extension in Indian economy
- Agriculture accounts for 50-60% of the workforce in India.
- India is also the country that dedicates the second largest workforce to agriculture extension, employing more than 100,000 people to share knowledge on best agricultural practice.
Barriers in Indian agriculture:
- Illiteracy levels in rural communities
- Lack of access to cost-effective technology
- Limited mobility of extension agents
- Farmers who have little or no access to technology
- Less markets for their products
- Lack knowledge on which markets to target and what price to charge.
How to solve the barriers in Indian agriculture?
- Coach farmers in their own videos that demonstrate an agricultural practice that is relevant to their local area, in their local language.
- These videos should be shared, by the numerous extension agencies.
- Government should take responsible step in promotional activities.
- Encourage farmers to adopt new agricultural practices and make agriculture smart.
- Connect rural farmers with buyers and provide them with real-time price information via mobile phone.
- Farmers registered for updates should receive messages daily from the service.
- Help farmers to choose the right market to target in order to get the best price.
Like so many other industries, Indian farms are also getting smarter. There are more tools to help farmers monitor their fields and track their animals. Just harvesting the data is not enough, it needs to be delivered in a timely manner that is actionable to help farmers make better decisions about their land and livestock.
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