- The Government of India has signed an agreement with various MNCs to provide access of farm statistics.
- This program has been implemented for the Agritech industry to boost rural incomes, cut imports, and reduce food wastages.
- Farmers, however, are reluctant to support the program due to fear of exploitation by companies and government.
Farm Statistics Agreement
Several MNCs including Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Cisco Systems Inc. have recently signed an agreement with the government of India to access farm data statistics. The government’s administration has been gathering farm data statistics since 2014 seeking to ensure food security in India which is the second-most populated nation in the world. The agreement was signed with the hope to help farmers boost yields with apps and tools built from information including crop output, soil quality, and land holdings.
As per data, the farm sector in India employs almost half of the nation and is a major contributor to the economy. This project can prove extremely beneficial for India’s agritech industry by boosting rural incomes, cutting down imports, reducing food wastages with better infrastructure, and competing with other foreign exporters.
How does this Program Work?
All the companies who are a part of this agreement will develop special apps powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cloud technology. Information like crop pattern, soil health, insurance, credit, and weather patterns will be entered into a single database which will then be analysed through AI and data analytics. This will benefit the farmers by developing personalized services such as peaking yields, water stress, degrading soil, and lack of infrastructure including temperature-controlled warehouses and refrigerated trucks. These solutions will be provided by the firms that will easily be accessible to all the farmers. If this program is approved, firms will be able to sell the final product to the government and directly to all the farmers.
Challenges in Implementation of the Program
Many local companies have signed up for the program including Star Agribazaar Technology, ESRI India Technologies, Patanjali Organic Research Institute and Ninjacart. However, successful implementation of this program is quite tough due to protests and lack of support from some farmers. Farmers feel that this program might impact them in a negative way. They are afraid of getting exploited by the companies who will purchase products from farmers at very less price and then sell it in the market at exorbitant prices. The farmers are also unsure about misuse of data they will have to provide. Also, deployment of digital solutions is a big challenge due to lack of technology infrastructure, and recurring disasters like floods, droughts, cyclones, etc.
Initiation of the Program
Regardless of all these hurdles, Microsoft and Amazon have already started working on the program. Microsoft has started building a platform to deploy AI and machine learning to 100 villages, and Amazon is offering real-time advice and information to farmers through a mobile app.