Government programmes for adoption of digital and innovative farming technologies

Government programmes for adoption of digital and innovative farming technologies

The adoption of modern, smart and innovative farming technologies by farmers depends on various factors such as socioeconomic conditions, geographical conditions, crop grown, and irrigation facilities among many other factors. However, the Government of India supports and facilitates the State governments to promote agriculture throughout the country and infuse modern and smart farming technologies into the agriculture sector. The use of modern machines including Kisan Drones (agricultural drones) is promoted under the Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Arjun Munda said in a written reply in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Under NeGPA (National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture) programme, funding is given to State governments for Digital Agriculture projects using emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain. A component called “Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development” has been launched under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY-RAFTAAR) in 2018-19 to promote innovation and agri-entrepreneurship by providing financial support and nurturing the incubation ecosystem. Under this programme, startups are encouraged to use innovative technologies to resolve challenges faced in agriculture and allied sectors. The funds are released to the states based on their proposals, Munda further informed the lower house of the Indian parliament.

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The Government of India is implementing a Centrally sponsored scheme of Per Drop More Crop (PDMC) which focuses on enhancing water use efficiency at the farm level through micro irrigation namely drip and sprinkler irrigation systems. The micro irrigation helps in water saving as well as reduced fertiliser usage through fertigation, labour expenses, other input costs and overall income enhancement of farmers. Recent evaluation studies of the scheme have reiterated that micro irrigation is relevant in achieving national priorities such as improving on-farm water use efficiency, enhancing crop productivity and improving the quality of agri-horti products, agriculture minister further said.

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is implementing Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) scheme across the country to support farmers in the adoption of innovative farming technologies developed by National Agricultural Research Systems. The activities of KVKs include on-farm testing to identify the location specificity of technology under various farming systems; frontline demonstration to establish the production potential of improved agricultural technologies on the farmers’ fields; capacity development of farmers for knowledge and skill up-gradation; and production of quality seeds, planting materials and other technology inputs for availability to the farmers. To develop awareness about agricultural innovations and technologies among the farmers, a large number of extension activities are taken up by the KVKs, Munda informed the house.

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Further, as per the budget announcement for the year 2023-24, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has taken various initiatives to build Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) for agriculture as an open source, open standard and interoperable public good. These initiatives intend to provide access to technology and information to the farmers across the country to address the farmer-centric solutions, through various digital initiatives, the minister concluded.

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