India: Digital Technology for Environment-Friendly Agriculture
We stand at a tipping point where we can no longer afford to practice agriculture that is unsustainable, writes SourceTrace CEO Dr. Venkat Maroju at Krishi Jagran. For several decades now, we have witnessed the impact of conventional agriculture and its ill-effects – widespread environmental degradation, particularly due to the excess use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
An alternative to this method came with the aid of digital technology that supports environment-friendly, sustainable agriculture. The buzzword in the agriculture world today is precision farming, which is aptly aided by digital technology. Precision farming is all about optimizing every kind of resource – be it water, fertilizer, or pesticide, and ultimately, helps in conserving resources, and at the same time, reduces environmental degradation while increasing productivity.
The adoption of digital technologies in agriculture is on an upswing today and is changing the way farmers and agri-businesses manage their crops. Use of digital technologies can help modernize agricultural production practices, leading to more uniform annual returns for farmers, reduced risk of crop failure, and better yields. Some of the major digital technologies in precision farming include mobile applications to collect the ground truth data and combining it with the satellite / remote sensing, GIS and on the ground sensors data which can be analyzed using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Some of the applications of these technologies include farm management, crop health monitoring (mostly based on NDVI – normalized difference vegetation index), yield monitoring and forecasting, detection of diseases, pests or weeds, weather forecast, irrigation planning, and soil quality testing.