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Top 10 Digital Initiatives Helpful For Farmers 

Introducing information technology in the agriculture sector in order to enhance the knowledge of farmers. Check top digital initiatives that are helpful for farmers.

Vivek Singh
Use of technology in Agriculture (Photo Courtesy: Freepik)
Use of technology in Agriculture (Photo Courtesy: Freepik)

The integration of information technologies into agriculture is enhancing farmers' knowledge. The Government is ensuring nationwide technological access through initiatives like the National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGP-A), which funds state projects involving advanced technologies. Additionally, plans are underway to establish a Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) for agriculture, offering open-source, interoperable solutions. These include crop planning, resource access, credit and insurance services, crop estimation help, and market intelligence.

In relation to this matter, the following steps have been undertaken:

  • The framework for three main databases, namely Farmer registry, Geo-referenced village map registry, and crop sown registry, has been concluded.

  • A trial implementation of Digital Crop Survey has been initiated in 12 states starting from the Kharif season of 2023, aiming to create the crop sown registry.

  • An agreement has been established with Pixxel Space India Pvt. Limited to developing practical applications utilizing Pixxel's hyperspectral data. These applications include crop identification and mapping, monitoring crop health, and estimating soil organic carbon in specific regions as part of a pilot program.

As we illustrated above that the Government has adopted several different measures into account to provide access to technology and information to farmers across the country, through various Digital Initiatives.

Top 10 Digital Initiatives Helpful For Farmers 

1. The Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) has been in effect since April 2014. Its objective is to extend the benefits of farm mechanization to small and marginal farmers who have been underserved. This is achieved by promoting initiatives like 'Custom Hiring Centers,' establishing centres for advanced and high-value farming equipment, distributing diverse agricultural machinery, and conducting awareness programs for stakeholders through demonstrations and skill-building activities. Additionally, the scheme ensures the evaluation and certification of performance at designated testing centres spread across the country.

2. The National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) is a comprehensive electronic trading platform implemented across India. It connects the existing Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis to form a unified national market for agricultural products. Through various modules like the FPO trading module and warehouse-based trading module, the e-NAM platform provides digital services to traders, farmers, and Farmer's Producer Organizations (FPO), streamlining the trading process.

Use of drones in agriculture for different purposes (Photo Courtesy: Freepik)
Use of drones in agriculture for different purposes (Photo Courtesy: Freepik)

3. The PM KISAN Scheme operates by directly transferring funds to eligible farmers' bank accounts through the Direct Benefit Transfer mechanism. Farmers have the option to register themselves through the Farmers Corner on the portal. The PM-KISAN Mobile App was introduced to expand the scheme's coverage, allowing farmers to check their beneficiary status, update their name using their Aadhaar card information, and access a record of benefits deposited into their bank accounts. Recently, the PM-KISAN mobile App has incorporated a facial authentication feature.

4. The Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) aims to generate medium to long-term debt financing opportunities for viable projects related to post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets. The objective is to enhance agricultural infrastructure across the country by providing incentives and financial support. This support comes in the form of an Interest Subvention and Credit Guarantee, digitally provided to aid in establishing post-harvest management infrastructure. The beneficiaries include Farmers, Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS), Farmer Producers Organisations (FPOs), Self Help Groups (SHG), and State Agencies/APMCs.

5. National Mission on Horticulture: This initiative supports the comprehensive growth of the horticulture sector, encompassing bamboo and coconut. The HORTNET project introduces a web-based system that follows a workflow approach to facilitate financial assistance under the MIDH. It is a distinctive effort to establish e-Governance within NMH, emphasizing complete transparency in all workflow processes, including online application submission, authentication, processing, and direct payment to beneficiaries bank accounts through DBT.

6. National Project on Soil Health and Fertility: The distribution of soil health cards to farmers across the nation is aimed at providing a foundation to address nutrient deficiencies in fertilizer usage. A portal dedicated to Soil Health Cards is accessible, enabling farmers to monitor their soil samples.

7. Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana has introduced several innovative technological measures, such as the Yield Estimation System based on Technology (YES-Tech), the Weather Information Network Data Systems (WINDS) portal, and the door-to-door enrolment app AIDE/Sahayak.

8. YES-TECH is a technology-driven system for estimating yields, providing methodologies, best practices, and integration strategies to ensure accurate yield evaluations at the Gram Panchayat level.

9. WINDS Portal is a centralized platform that manages and processes hyper-local weather data collected from Automatic Weather Stations and Rain Gauges at various levels. The portal enhances risk assessment and decision-making in crop insurance, agricultural advisories, and disaster management, bolstering the rural economy and agricultural sector.

10. The AIDE app aims to transform the enrolment process by bringing it directly to farmers' doorsteps. This approach ensures a seamless and transparent procedure, making crop insurance easily accessible and convenient for farmers.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has compiled over 100 mobile apps developed by ICAR, State Agricultural Universities, and Krishi Vigyan Kendras. These apps cover areas like crops, horticulture, veterinary care, dairy, poultry, fisheries, natural resource management, and integrated subjects, providing valuable information to farmers, including recommended practices, market prices of commodities, weather updates, advisory services, and more. Furthermore, ICAR has created a digital multimedia platform called "Kisan Sarathi," which delivers advisories to farmers through 731 KVKs across the country.

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