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AI & Technology can Address Challenges in Indian Agriculture Sector, says New Report

The entire system must adapt to a holistic approach based on indigenous and traditional farming knowledge combined with transformative smart farming practises, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and techniques, according to the report.

Shivam Dwivedi
Digital Agriculture
Digital Agriculture

Even though agriculture remains a priority sector, employing approximately 58% of the country's population, adoption of technology in the sector is at a crossroads, with several challenges across the value chain, according to a report.

Though agriculture in India is in a transitional phase, with a focus on technology integration for better operations, the sector faces several challenges across the value chain, according to a report by PwC & FICCI.

According to the report titled 'Redefining Agriculture Through Artificial Intelligence: Predicting the Unpredictable,' these challenges necessitate disruptive interferences, which technological solutions can provide.

The entire system must adapt to a holistic approach based on indigenous and traditional farming knowledge combined with transformative smart farming practices, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and techniques, according to the report.

Adoption of AI technologies will pave the way for higher production with optimal resource utilization, as well as facilitate predictive analysis, crop health management, quality and traceability, among other things, according to the report. According to the report, the country's adoption of innovative and transformative smart farming practices is gradually becoming a major trend.

 

Smart and technology-driven resource management, modernization of Agri supply chains, climate risk mitigation strategy, digitization of farm collectives as farmer producer organizations, the emergence of a startup ecosystem, and government initiatives in digital farming are just a few of the steps being taken to encourage smart farming practices, according to the report.

Recent technological advancements are re-engineering both the upstream and downstream segments of the Agri value chain globally.

AI cutting-edge technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), ML (Machine Learning), cloud computing, statistical computing, deep learning, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) are allowing the sector to overcome productivity, quality, traceability, and carbon emission challenges while increasing profitability, according to the report.

Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), are primarily used in agriculture.

According to the report, as the country's agriculture sector develops further, the use of drones in farming methods is expected to increase, with many startups investing in low-cost drones that can help farmers, improve their knowledge, and create jobs for rural youth.

The government is also enabling an institutional ecosystem for agritech startups through incubators, according to the statement. Through the NITI Aayog, it has adopted the theme of 'AI for all' and laid out broad recommendations for nurturing India's AI ecosystem.

Despite progress in developing and nurturing an AI-enabled ecosystem, the agriculture sector faces a number of issues and challenges that must be addressed in order to facilitate a smooth transition, according to the report.

 

The major challenges with the agricultural sector's AI innovation and technology aspects are a limited pool of AI and sectoral expertise, existing gaps in public AI research, poor data quality and lack of access to data, and a lack of coordination and cross-border collaboration.

According to the report, these challenges can be addressed through a '3S' strategy that employs the levers of Scale, Skill, and Service to transform AI into Agri intelligence, leading to widespread adoption of the technology in the ecosystem through the collaborative efforts of key actors as change drivers.

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