Kolkata, India — An Indian synthetic intelligence (AI) options supplier is attempting to assist farmers within the county higher fight vagaries of climate aggravated by local weather change. And, it has bagged a serious prize just lately.
AI Farms, developed by Kalicharan N., a senior tech analyst with American info expertise service supplier Cognizant, was just lately named the Asia Pacific Regional Winner in IBM’s Name for Code 2020. It “evaluates climate and soil conditions to provide farmers with information to adapt their crop strategies”, and can take house prize cash of $5,000.
The agriculture sector contributes about 16 % to the gross home product (GDP) of India, the fifth-largest economic system in the world. It is usually the only greatest employer, with about 41 % of the Indian workforce is within the farming sector.
However Indian farmers, particularly these with small landholdings, are sometimes left on the mercy of the climate. Their scenario is aggravated by local weather change resulting in uneven rainfall. About 42 % of India confronted a drought in 2019, with the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, and Karnataka being worst affected. In Karnataka, 25 % of the crops had been broken because of the erratic rainfall in August.
The prospect of economic damage usually forces debt-ridden farmers to suicide. In 2019, 10,281 individuals employed within the farm sector dedicated suicides, in line with information from the Nationwide Crime Data Bureau.
“This intelligent system [AI Farms] aims to provide farmers with the information they need to adapt their crop strategies to optimize water usage and control disease,” claims the answer’s description. “This low-cost system uses sensors to monitor groundwater levels, temperature, and humidity.”
The information is processed via IBM’s Watson Web of Issues programs and produces hyperlocal climate forecasts.
“Cameras installed in farms also click pictures of plants at certain intervals, detecting diseases,” Kalicharan instructed Zenger Information. The answer is now out there just for corn and maize however will quickly embrace different crops and in addition join extra units to cowl bigger areas.
“Farmers can access all the information in their language as we have also installed an audio translator,” he added. “Everything is automated, and by the end of one crop cycle, they [farmers] can save money that gets wasted in extra pesticides and extra water.”
Most farmers in India nonetheless observe conventional strategies and have landholding which might be too small to be used of contemporary farming equipment. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the nation’s central bank, defines a small farmer as one with “a landholding of more than 1 hectare and up to 2 hectares”, and a marginal farmer as one with lower than a hectare of landholding.
There are lots of landless agricultural laborers in addition to those that domesticate the land they lease.
“The government’s attention is clearly divided among the small farmers, medium farmers, and large farmers,” stated Anurag Kumar Lohia, an economist with the RBI. “The medium and large farmers usually do not face losses; they have a standing capital. Mostly small and marginal farmers are suffering.”
About 58 % of the Indian inhabitants relies upon on agriculture and 10 % of the nation’s exports are farm merchandise, in line with a latest report by India Model Fairness Basis (IBEF). Youthful individuals, nevertheless, are transferring away from farming due to low margins.
In recent times there was some overseas funding within the sector, particularly for farm equipment and meals processing. From April 2000 to June 2020, $10 billion of overseas direct funding got here into the nation’s meals processing sector and $2.2 billion into agricultural equipment, in line with a latest report by the federal government’s division of commercial coverage and promotion.
The federal government of India has launched the Agri Udaan scheme in 2017 to spice up innovation within the agriculture sector by mentoring start-ups and connecting them to traders.
With the world’s second-largest inhabitants (1.four billion in 2019), India desperately wants to provide extra meals. It ranks 94 out of 107 international locations, with a “serious level”, in line with the World Starvation Index 2020.
AI options, equivalent to AI Farms, are prone to be one of many options. A number of giant states in India, equivalent to Maharashtra and Karnataka, are additionally utilizing AI in agriculture to spice up manufacturing.
“AI plays a critical role, at pre-harvest and post-harvest stages,” stated Srivatsa, co-founder of Jivabhumi, a start-up aimed for the welfare of the farmers with AI. “Farmers face less loss as everything is being conveyed to them through the AI solution.”
“Keeping in mind the low literacy rate of farmers in India, the interface of AI technologies is kept very simple and farmers can easily interact with them, but these technologies are yet to penetrate the Indian market wholly,” stated Srivatsa.
“Automated calls and messages are sent to all the farmers for prior notice, and it is being done in their local language so that they do not face any difficulty,” he added. “It will take some time, as it is in the early stages of implementation, and all of these things are finally benefiting farmers.”
Whereas India produced 295.67 million tons in the crop yr 2019-20, the federal government goals to provide 298 MT in 2020-21, claims a report by IBEF. India normally has two crop seasons — kharif (monsoon) and rabi (winter).
(Edited by Uttaran Das Gupta and Siddharthya Roy. Graph by Urvashi Makwana.)