The Indian agricultural sector holds a crucial spot in the economy. A significant portion of the country’s population is engaged in farming and related activities. Over the past few years, the technological revolution has gained momentum in this industry. A plethora of startups and businesses have shown interest in the modernisation of the entire farm-to-fork process. Agritech companies are aiding farmers with tech-enabled solutions to help them improve both the quality and quantity of their yield. Many methods like drip irrigation and residue-free farming techniques are promoted to make the agricultural landscape more sustainable. Apart from the production side, the supply chain is also evolving with the help of increased automation and the addition of traceability models.
Here are some trends that are guiding the disruptions in the agritech space: –
The use of data received from satellites has been a common feature for several industries. However, its inclusion in agriculture is fairly new. A compilation of millions of pixels, this data facilitates remote sensing and helps farmers engage in precision agriculture. When this information is combined with on-ground samples, producers get better insights regarding planning their future activities. For instance, it helps in gauging the relevant conditions based on varied spatial scales, thereby allowing farmers to make efficient input decisions like variable fertilizer application across the fields and optimal irrigation amount. Further, Satellite imagery is improving very fast , earlier five days was the minimum lag period and cloudy weather was an issue but nowadays lag period has come down to just a day as we can now procure same area pictures from multiple satellites.
Technological advancements are rapidly integrating the once fragmented supply chain systems across the nation. The traditional supply chains were marked by inconsistency, ambiguity and losses. As per a report, over 2% of the global economic output results in counterfeiting revenues. The use of blockchain helps in boosting transparency, traceability and accountability. Blockchain driven solutions help in reducing risks of losses and grey marketing. It records and monitors every step in the farm-to-fork process. By automating the supply chain, it has reduced administrative costs as well. With consumers wanting to know how their food is produced; blockchain helps in resolving all such queries.
IoT based devices
These solutions form the bridge between farming and smart farming. Drones, for example, come with in-built cameras and sensors that help in accurately surveying, mapping and imaging the farmland. There are different types of drones such as ground and aerial ones. These are remotely controlled and help in estimating crop health, identifying irrigation and spraying requirements, gauging soil quality and predicting yield, among others. IoT based sensors, on the other hand, are placed on the field to gather data, which is later processed using analytical tools. They assist in determining the specific requirements of different sections of the farm. It provides crucial information like soil’s drainage capacity and acidity. In case of any disease outbreak, it immediately notifies the farmers to take quick action, thus reducing wastage. These are just two tools, there are many more like weeding robots, machine navigation systems, harvesting robotics, robots for material handling. Complex and redundant manual work; is now replaced with advanced technological solutions that lead to maximised outputs.
Weather-based insurance products
Farmers are prone to losses due to poor weather conditions. To mitigate such risks and losses, the concept of a weather-based insurance system has been launched. Under this channel, every area is linked to a reference weather station, which digitally gathers information regarding the prevalent weather conditions. The reports generated by these stations guide the processing of claims. For instance, every area has a weather parameter, determined by the respective stations. In case there is any fluctuation in real-time conditions, the insured farmers who face losses due to such changes are eligible for claiming compensation. Since all the data is obtained using tech solutions, there is no scope for discrepancies.
The inclusion of technology in the agricultural sector has led to radical transformations. Farmers are now more in control of their farms and produce. The assistance provided by agritech startups and companies allows them to make the best use of available solutions. By leveraging technology, the face of India’s primary industry has changed. It is a matter of time when more and more solutions pave their way in agriculture. It is safe to say that food production in India has embarked on its journey towards modernisation.