How AI in farming can be a panacea to agriculture problemsSeptember 3, 2018
Every now and then, we witness the farmers’ protest. And all state governments and Union government claim that they are working for the uplift of peasants, but the matter of fact is Indian farm workers are still bound to live debt-burdened and pity life.
The agriculture sector, which is considered the spine of the Indian economy as it accounts for 18 % of India’s GDP and provides employment to over 50% of the countries workforce, is under-developed. It is important to nourish and ensure the development of the Agriculture sector to feed an extra-large population of 132 crore people in India. As there is no alternate of foods, no country can afford to ignore the welfare of farmers. Unfortunately, post-Independence, the governments did very little to reform the agriculture sector.
The distress in the farming sector due to several reasons like- drought, flood, no seasonal rains, and bank loans, has set a very disturbing trend of committing suicide. India is growing as a failed nation to take care of its farmers.
According to experts, along with malfunctioning government systems, technology backwardness plays a key role in the under-development of agriculture. Amid the all bad omen, the government’s think tank Niti-Aayog has come up with a very good proposal to make India a powerhouse of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in farming, which will help many sectors, including agriculture. It works as per uploaded data directions with its algorithms. It works like an intelligent adviser who guides what to do and what not to do on certain subjects. However, AI technology is new in India, and we have a long way to go to implement it thoroughly.
For instance, there is a mobile app for farmers which operate with the support of AI technology. The app can scan the quality of soil, water, or seeds. The app maker uploads thousands of pictures of soils, and the other and programmer link a picture with the solution given by agricultural scientists. AI technology also brought some mobile apps that can give real-time weather reports. It addresses farmers’ queries related to farming as well. AI technology requires huge data; the good thing is that leading IT companies like Google are working on cloud computing services, which can store adequate data for the well-functioning of AI.
In an interview with a news portal, MD-Asia Pacific, for Google Cloud, Rick Harshman said that his company is working toward the products that can help to increase the sufficiency of farmers. He told me that Google has a project called Project Oasis, which is a self-sustaining plant ecosystem that reflects outside weather patterns by creating clouds, rain, and light inside a box. Hashman explained Google has technologies like cloud, AI, ML, that will have a big impact in an agriculturalist country like India.
If the technology gets a say in agriculture, the input cost will reduce and subsequently, the output (productivity) will increase. A smart-phone can do what an agricultural laboratory does. With the help of a smart-phone, a farmer without going anywhere can sort out his most queries.