In order to push digital agriculture in the country, the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with five private players – CISCO, Ninjacart, Jio Platforms, ITC and NCDEX e-Markets (NeML) – at Krishi Bhavan, New Delhi Tuesday. Speaking on the occasion, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said, “Modernisation of the agriculture sector will continue by infusing new technologies so that farmers can increase their income.”
Based on these pilot projects farmers will be able to take informed decisions on what crop to grow, what variety of seed to use and what best practices to adopt to maximise the yield. The agriculture supply chain players can plan their procurement and logistics on precise and timely information. Farmers can make informed decisions about whether to sell or store their produce and when and where and what price to sell.
A digital agriculture mission has been initiated for 2021 -2025 by the government of India for projects based on new technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, remote sensing and GIS technology, use of drones and robots. Any attempt to transform the agriculture sector needs to imbibe an ecosystem thinking and a digital ecosystem. The agriculture value chain extends from crop selection to crop management and the market; it involves public and private players in agricultural inputs and services and also logistics.
Establishing a digital ecosystem of agriculture needs to take a long-term view of aspects like interoperability, data governance, data quality, data standards, security and privacy, besides promoting innovation. A significant requirement is the adoption of a decentralised, federated architecture that assures autonomy to the service providers and all other actors and ensures interoperability at the same time. Recognising the importance of digitisation in agriculture, the Department of Agriculture, Government of India is creating a federated farmers database and building different services around this database so as to build digital ecosystems of agriculture.
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A federated farmers’ database will be linked by the land records of farmers from across the country and a unique farmer ID will be created. Under this unified database for all farmers, the information of all benefits and supports of various schemes of Central &and state governments can be kept and this can be the source for accessing information for providing benefits to farmers in the future. So far, the database is ready with details of around 5.5 crore farmers.
Kailash Chaudhary, Union Minister of State for Agriculture; Shobha Karandlaje, Union Minister of State for Agriculture; Sanjay Aggarwal Secretary, DA&FW; Vivek Aggarwal, Additional Secretary (Digital Agriculture), GoI; Harish Krishnan, Managing Director, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagements, CISCO; Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Co-Founder and CEO, Ninjacart; Dr. Shanker Adawal, President and Head of Regulatory & Corporate Affairs, Jio Platforms; Rajnikant Rai, Divisional Chief Executive, ITC; and Mrugank Paranjape, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, NCDEX e-Markets Limited (NeML) were also present on this occasion.