Agri-Tech: The Pathway to Prosperity
Ever since the Green Revolution in the 1960s, India is bearing witness to technological innovations that are revolutionising Indian agriculture.
Today, we feature on the list of top countries as far as production of rice, wheat, sugarcane, fruits and vegetables go. We’re optimistic we can do even better! The key here would be to alleviate many of the challenges faced by farmers on the field.
Farmers toil on their fields every day while dealing with harsh weather conditions, safety risks, and other hazards. It’s no wonder that they are keen to adopt innovations that can ease their lives.
Innovation in the farm sector is what’s driving the next phase of agricultural growth in the country. Today’s Indian progressive farmers are constantly on the lookout for newer techniques and methods to multiply their farm productivity. This National Technology Day, we list down the trends our farmers have adopted to increase productivity on the same amount of land.
What might seem to be simple piping at first, is a lot more innovative than you think. Micro irrigation is aimed at regulating the flow of water to ensure exactly the right amount is dispensed to irrigate crops, thereby eliminating wastage of fresh water.
Through valves and flow pipes, micro-irrigation delivers water straight to the root of the plant. This also helps in preventing losses through evaporation – saving over 48% of irrigation water.
An evolved form of micro-irrigation uses a network of pipes to supply water with the right doses of liquid fertilizers mixed in. The plants receive not just adequate water but the right nutrition too, thereby enhancing their growth and yield.
Maharashtra recently became the first Indian state to use Automated Weather Stations for farmers. This is one step closer to digital farming. At Monsanto too, we’re working on tools that help farmers collect and analyse data about their land and resources.
Let’s take a step back – if you want to cook something for the first time, what do you do? You may look up the internet for a recipe or refer to your recipe book that contains handwritten notes. Small variability in the quantity of ingredients can lead to huge differences in taste and texture.
Similarly, in agriculture, farmers use data science to decide how much water, fertilizer and other inputs are needed to grow and harvest the best crop. Digital technology helps farmers see and understand what’s happening in their field. It guides them in including solutions that will help them plant the right amount of seeds to maximise the performance.
Advanced Plant Breeding
Farmers have been selectively breeding crops for centuries. By selecting plants that give the best yields, farmers have inadvertently helped modern crops develop into what we consume today. With advances in technology however, farmers now have access to high quality hybrid plant seeds which have been selectively bred to best suit the conditions they will be grown in. For instance, in regions which encounter frequent droughts, “drought-resistant” varieties of crops help farmers grow produce with lower levels of irrigation.
Technology has enabled mankind to improve crop quality by selecting the exact traits we want and pass them on to the next generation of plants. By tailoring these traits for different climate and soil conditions, people living in those regions gain access to fresh produce which would otherwise have to be imported.
Newer technologies are constantly being developed and agriculture is no longer the traditional occupation it used to be. Combining technology with practices honed over centuries, farmers can now maximize the potential of existing farmland, helping grow food more sustainably and feed millions.