Transformative Technologies like Remote Sensing are shifting the Indian Agriculture Sector towards a sustainable future

– By Saurabh Gupta, Manager, RMSI Cropalytics

The agricultural sector is increasingly adopting transformative technologies like remote sensing and artificial intelligence, giving rise to startups tapping into the agri-tech space’s vast potential.

Due to its recognition in the global market, the Indian agri-tech sector is also taking a leap, making Agritech one of the most important pillars for building a sustainable future. As per the Economic Survey of India, 2022-23, India’s agriculture sector has grown 4.6% over the last six years.

In a nation that is heavy on the agrarian sector but occupies only 1.5% of the total market share, the Indian government is taking initiatives to implement technology in the agriculture sector to transform the face of the industry in India. Some government initiatives include the Digital Agriculture Mission (DAM),  National Agricultural Market (e-NAM) scheme, and incentivizing Drones and AI technology to encourage Agri-tech adoption and digital farming to enhance agricultural productivity, improving market access and enriching farmer livelihoods.

In this purview, the Government of Uttar Pradesh (GoUP) has recently taken the initiative to enable data-driven decision-making and strengthen the farmer’s lifestyle and livelihood by shifting to emerging technologies. They collaborated with RMSI Cropalytics to leverage state-of-the-art technologies such as Remote Sensing (RS) with AI/ML-driven Geographic Information System (GIS) to revolutionize farming practices, empower farmers, and enhance agricultural productivity across the state.

Information asymmetry across stakeholders is the most fundamental challenge for the sector. To address this gap, they needed a fully integrated decision support system with a 360-degree view of the agriculture sector where all stakeholders are fully connected.

Also, accurate and timely information on crop area, yield, and production is of utmost importance in the planning and allocating of resources for the agricultural sector. This information is essential for policymakers and planners responsible for formulating effective agrarian policies and making decisions regarding procurement, storage, distribution, import, export, and other related matters. Crop area statistics are crucial to any agricultural statistical system as they significantly estimate crop production and yield.

 Moreover, with the increase in the number of Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs), the quality of crop coverage and yield estimate data has been adversely affected. Additionally, information regarding crop failure after sowing or areas affected by droughts/floods due to natural calamities is not reported in a timely manner, making it difficult for farmers to settle insurance claims. Therefore, exploring alternative technology-based reporting systems that can provide timely and reliable information on crop coverage and yield estimates was required.

RMSI Cropalytics prepared an online system to accurately estimate the acreage and yield at the Gram Panchayat (GP) level using advanced techniques for selected crops grown in the state.

Over the next three years, RMSI Cropalytics will conduct comprehensive surveys utilizing advanced RS techniques coupled with AI/ML algorithms to accurately forecast agricultural data related to land use, crop acreage, health, and yield across districts.

By offering valuable insights into soil health, crop yields, and weather patterns, stakeholders will be empowered to optimize resource management practices and identify areas for targeted interventions.

This approach is vital to ensuring that the agricultural sector remains sustainable, productive, and resilient to challenges such as climate change, pests, and diseases. Efficient planning, backed by accurate and cost-effective statistics, is key to overcoming these obstacles and securing a thriving future for agriculture. With these advancements, we can foster a more robust and adaptive agricultural landscape that benefits farmers, consumers, and the environment.

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