Innovative Technologies that will Empower Agriculture in 2017

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the share of agriculture was 15.35% of the gross value added (GVA) making the agriculture sector a sweet spot for investors and entrepreneurs. There is huge scope for new technological innovations and startups, as day to day farming activities continue to involve many barriers. India produces a variety of agriculture supplies ranging from seeds, fruits, spices to farming machinery and equipment. Technology can be used to our advantage to increase the productivity or the yield per unit input.

Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the much needed impetus to usher in a technological revolution in our country with the Digital India and Make in India initiatives, which raised interest among various stakeholders- farmers, entrepreneurs, and experts in the field of agriculture. The following technologies promise to change the face of the Indian agriculture industry:

1. Livestock Biometrics
Cattle identification plays an essential role in understanding the movement and food consumption patterns of the livestock. Apart from that, the technology can also be used in various ways, such as to monitor heart rate, vaccinations, calf-delivery and medications. Additionally, this technology can also help farmers in livestock insurance as well as help in getting rid of the painful branding methods such as ear-tagging and hot-tagging.

A scarce number of dairies in India have started adopting this technology. For instance, RFID can monitor the volume and standard of milk produced by a particular cow. By analyzing the data generated, farmers can take necessary measures to improve the health of a cow, which will ultimately impact the quality and output of milk.

2. Farming Applications on Mobile
The smartphone phenomenon has entranced majority of our population, with even farmers being captivated by it. As smartphones become ubiquitous, farmers have taken to the medium to search for farming solutions. The Government of India, along with various companies and NGOs, have recently introduced mobile applications for farmers that provide real-time data about weather, local markets, seeds, fertilizers and more. Additionally, farmers can also interact with agriculture experts across the country via the apps.

These next generation farming apps are being adopted by farmers in India to overcome various issues which will enable them to make informed farming decisions, ultimately impacting the yield. With Internet connectivity getting affordable by the day and the reach expanding to even the remotest areas of the country, these apps will witness widespread adoption in 2017.

3. Big Data
Data has become the gold mine of this connected world. With the help of data analysis, big data can be valuable for planning and decision making. Farmers are slowly adopting the idea of big data to help them make crucial decisions.

A handful of wealthy farmers across the country have connected devices installed on their farms. Each of these devices churn out gigabytes of information that can be leveraged by farmers. This real-time information includes data on the health of the soil, water content in the crops, nutrients present in the soil, effect of the fertilizer on the crops and more. Farms will slowly become data warehouses, and data analytics will be used to make sense of data collected on the farm

4. Nanotech in Agriculture
Nanotech is currently being researched and will be put to use in the future. The emergence of new nanodevices and nanomaterials open up new avenues for the growth of agriculture in India. The application of nanotechnology in agriculture will reduce applications of plant protection products, increase yields through nano nutrient management and minimize nutrient loss in fertilization.

Nanoparticles, a farming application of nanotechnology, is gaining attention by efficient control and precise release of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. The development and invention of nanodevices and nano material open up potential ways for applications in agriculture.

Nano pesticides could be more eco-friendly and provide effective control of weeds, diseases and insects. Nano fertilizers can help minimize leaching, improve nutrients in plants and so on. Nanotech devices are also being developed in the field of genetics.