By Sanjay Borkar CEO & Co-Founder of FarmERP
Agriculture and its allied sources form the largest sources of livelihood in India. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, about 70% of India’s rural households primarily depend on agriculture, with about 82% of these being constituted by small and marginal farmers. India is also the largest manufacturer, consumer, and distributor of grains and pulses in the world with major participation in the dairy industry.
‘Technology’ as a broad concept has always had a large role to play when it comes to easing out tensions and crinkles in age-old systems. ‘AgTech’ is a personalised category within the ‘technology’ spectrum and provides vastassistance to the Agricultural Industry. The Agricultural Industry is one that supports around 43% of India’s employment, hence it is also one of the most important economic sectors along with being our prime source for sustenance.
Farmers have begun to get instructed, educated, and furnished with the advantages of the virtual world with computerized integration in their day to day agricultural undertakings. There are multiple ways in which AgTech proves to be a supporting pillar for farmers, assisting them in being future-ready as well as heightening their awareness of the benefits technology can provide them with.
- Integrating technology with Farm Management:
Farm management cannot be considered an easy task. As every crop has different needs and specifications, a precise understanding and knowledge is required to be aware of the varying nature of the crops. They require inputs and advisory on practices to be followed. AgTech assists farmers in taking forward the best suited agricultural practices, in turn increasing efficiency. Technology and Efficiency go hand-in-hand, enabling farmers to manage their crops and produce more effectively, mitigating various risks and working on a centralized database where they are informed as well as educated about the processes to follow. Aside from this, they are also assisted in optimizing on-farm resources, which are generally a scarcity, for these various crops to ensure the maximum yield. Integrating technology with daily agronomic activities would allow individuals to focus more on the bigger picture, focusing on Sustainable Agriculture, Climate Resilience, and Traceability.
- Financial Independence:
A technology platform can help farmers increase their income and hence buying and selling capacity as well, along with providing them with various cost analysis assistance so that the funds can be assigned in the right manner for every task carried out by the farmer, or every transaction that is carried out. Farmers are also being guided towards the formation ofFPC’s/FPO’s (Farmer Producer Companies / Organisations) that allow them to carry out the processes of post-processing and production, along with manufacturing and selling of the produce on their own through the FPO’s, adding a profitable value.
3. Digital Agricultural Supply Chain:
AgriTech works towards the organization of a Digital Agricultural supply chain, where dots are connected, making the entire process exceedingly efficient. All the stakeholders are repositioning onto this single technological platform. Through the access of technology, farmers are able to expand their buyer base, reach an exceeding number of consumers, and increase their profitability as well. In such an event, not only do the manufacturing measures become more effective, but also the trading of products to remunerative sources increases. E-Mandis are likewise gaining significance as of today and are pursuing the formation of a uniform public market for agricultural products in turn, expanding the purchaser base for farmers and individual farmers who would then be able to bargain (hypothetically) directly with the whole nation.
These are a couple of ways by which innovation is integrated with horticulture and can help individual and smallholder farmers, as well as, helping the entire value chain, while likewise providing benefits to contract farmers, Corporates, R&D foundations, subsidizing organizations, trade bodies, FPO’s and Government bodies also. According to an article by The Economist, ‘In the short run, these improvements will boost farmers’ profits, by cutting costs and increasing yields, and should also benefit consumers (meaning everyone who eats food) in the form of reduced costs. Ultimately, though, they may help answer a progressively crucial question: how would the world be fed in the future without putting an irreversible strain on the Earth’s soils and oceans?’
The way forward for future farming processes and farmers, along with various Agri-related sub-verticals seems to be digital and beneficial not only for various Agriculture stakeholders but majorly for small farmers and laborers, converting them into agronomists as well.