The Agriculture sector in India is the core basis for food security and poverty alleviation. It also has an important role for nutritional security and sustainable development. The contribution to the GDP although declining is still the largest and 61.5% of the population is dependent on agriculture as the primary means of livelihood. Thus development of this sector has been very crucial.
As a nation we have pursued the development of this sector rigorously. Some milestones of this development would include:
- Green revolution,
- Evergreen revolution,
- Blue revolution,
- White revolution,
- Yellow revolution,
- Bio technology revolution and the most recent one is
- Information and communication technology revolution.
IT Technology has immensely aided easy application of precision agriculture. We have computerized farm machinery, better systems, efficient management that applies even for fertilizers and pesticides. Technology has accelerated information sharing,it was become a bridge for everyone. But there is still a long way to go especially when it comes to penetration of technology for marginal farmers.
Why is Penetration of Technology so Important?
In his 2016 budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised to double farmers’ income by 2022. He said, “We need to think beyond food security and give back to our farmers a sense of income security.”
An Indian farmers average income over a decade (2003-2013) rolse only 5% according to Indiaspend analysis. Over 70% of farmers spend more than they earn, of which 62.6 million households are marginal farmers with land holdings of one hectare or less. Nearly 85% of all operational farm holdings in the country are smaller than two hectares in size, NSSO data show.
So if there has to be any progress at all in the agricultural sector it will have to start by empowering these marginal farmers.
While modern technology can be easily adopted by big farmers, it is the penetration within marginal sector which will make the difference.
Efforts have already begun. The Central government as well as state governments along with private organisations are already on the move. They have deployed Information & Communication Technology (ICT) measures for agriculture extension such as:
- ITC- e-choupal,
- Kisan Kerala,
- My Farm Info portal,
- Mahindra Kisan Mitra,
- Village knowledge centers (VKCs)- M.S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF),
- IFFCO Agri-portal,
- Village resource centres (VRCs)- Indian Space Research Organisation, etc.
The ICT applications meant for rural section can be classified into these three categories:
1.Solutions aimed at empowerment
2.Solutions that would enable.
3.Solutions meant for market expansion.
But there is still a long way to go and efforts have to continue in terms of awareness building and training. Most households even if illiterate do not have that technical grasp yet to effectively use these portals. The technology has to be accessible to everyone and should provide practical solutions.
How does My Farm Info help with penetration of technology?
MyFarmInfo.com is basically an agriculture information system to aid farmers maximize their income. It does so by providing ways to increase the yield as well as helping them get best price for their produce.
This is an open portal and can be used by anyone with access to internet. The usage is pretty simple as well. Once you geo-tag your farm the rest of the data is instantly available and does not require special skills of usage.
It helps improve yield by providing information on:
- Crop Feasibility– Farmers can find out the most feasible crop according to soil type and loss estimates.
- Crop Management- Here farmers get information to deal with pests & diseases, nutrition, water, weeds, etc.
- Farm Management- Farmers have access to all details about their farm and use it for planning and crop scheduling, they also have access to weather forecasts, flood risks, wind risks.
- Services such as Soil Doctor- to improve soil health, Plant Doctor- fighting plant diseases, Crop Secure- Securing your crops with Insurance, Nimbu Mirchee- High-tech transport and storage services.
It helps farmers get better price for their products by delivering the best prices in nearby Mandis and also shares nearest export points and storage units.
All of these services are based on vast infrastructure spread across the country by Weather Risk Management System (WRMS) over decades. It years of work and technological placement that allows any farmer anywhere in India to access this portal and get such kind of detailed information in the easiest way possible.
This is one of the best examples of taking world class technological infrastructure to the masses and enable and empower them with information.
While big farmers could afford to get some expensive external help, it is MyFarmInfo that truly empowers the marginal farmers with such penetration of information and technology.