Farming and Agriculture is the backbone of Indian and for that matter any countries Economy. It is the main source of food and nutrients for the major Ecosystem and Ecology altogether. But with the increasing population, Economic and Civil unrest, pollution, global warming, etc, the farming and agriculture is facing a huge task. To cater to billions of people.
The main future course is that The world will need to produce 70% more food in 2050 than it did in 2006 in order to feed the growing population of the Earth, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. To meet this demand, farmers and agricultural companies are turning to the Internet of Things for analytics and greater production capabilities.
Internet of Things is the main barrier breaker which is going to bring tech giants closer to farmers. Till now, any industry that have come close to helping farmers are the movers industry who build huge machines like sowing, rowing, tractors and vehicles which help them with movement of raw materials and produce.
- In 2015, Lot of investments have been done in companies and startups which are working towards farming and smart agriculture. The details on the investment does suggest that the tech giants are turning towards Agriculture.
The Internet of Things helps in going into the farming or help farmers in the way they do farming and help them get the most out of it. Lets look at some examples of what is there in store.
- Farmers in US and developed countries have already begun employing some high tech farming techniques and technologies in order to improve the efficiency of their day-to-day work. For example, sensors placed in fields allow farmers to obtain detailed maps of both the topography and resources in the area, as well as variables such as acidity and temperature of the soil. They can also access climate forecasts to predict weather patterns in the coming days and weeks.
- Since water and minerals are very much basic for any irrigation, there has been companies which develop sensors to accurately measure the water stress and mineral content like Farmx
- Kaa is open source software that is enabling IOT fetures for smart farming. HERE
- If there is huge lands of cultivation then time to time management, topography mapping, seed sowing, irrigating, etc would be a huge pain and lot of farmers lose track of their exact produce and work done. Drones have been used to solve the issue of mass sowing and monitoring with drones communicating with each other drones, exchanging notes are they plant seeds, or spray water or just monitor. DroneSeed company helps to achieve that.
- Also to the fact that every year the data regarding cultivation keeps changing and farmers have lot of data from their experience and this data helps in understanding and developing more better solutions, the data analytics too play a vital role. Farmobile does just that.
In India too, the scenario for Iot seems slow but groing. Lets look at some news and info there.
- The draft bill is going to give a huge boost to companies. Source.
- TCS to help farmers detect crop diseases
Farmers in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab will be able to detect late blight disease in this season’s potato crop through mobile phones, thanks to Tata Consultancy Services. In a pilot project being run by the IT major across a few villages in these states for the past two years, agricultural experts are able to gauge the crop’s susceptibility to disease based on soil and weather (humidity, temperature and rainfall) parameters.
The agri-experts gather the information from a wireless sensor network spread across the farms and are able to determine the disease risk. “Now we will introduce a mobile application that will involve farmers in disease detection,” says Dr Bhushan Jagyasi, a scientist at the TCS Innovation Lab in Mumbai
- Tracking crop management
Krishna Kumar, left his job at GE where he worked as a software engineer to set up a start-up, CropIn, which provides software solutions and analytics for crop management. This application tags crops and tracks their development till the harvest. The system, when fed with information pertaining to sowing time and seed type, provides crop development information at various stages of production.
“Whenever the field staff of food processing companies visits any farm they carry a smartphone loaded with the app. They feed crop-related information into the system, which in turn suggests the best practice for growing the respective crop. If temperature dips, for example, the system informs the corporation or the farmer about the safeguards,” says Kumar, who graduated from Bangalore-based MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology. Today, CropIn is used by 40 companies, including Pepsico and Mahindra Agri, and benefits 100,000 farmers across 15 states.
- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed an android based app which collects real-time information to assess the damage to agricultural crop due to hailstorm. This app aims to allow the farmers to process faster claims to insurance during crop damage by accessing real-time data. It currently applies to rice and cotton crops in the states of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Maharashtra.
With lot of companies and countries already plunging into the industry, India has its time to jump in early and take the bigger piece of pie since India thrives on agriculture and what better place than India for India to innovate in agro.