DIGITALIZATION IN INDIAN AGRICULTURE | Blog Shuruwaatagri
With India having bagged the 4th position in the world’s top 5 Agricultural producing countries & about 60% of the population of India indulged into agriculture and related activities, also, when only rural India is considered, about 80% of the population is involved in this occupation. This industry uses up almost 51% of the country’s land area while contributing approximately 18-20% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Digital Indian Agriculture
Indian agriculture has undergone many changes in the due course of time post its independence. Over time, land-use pattern, amount of geographical area used, types of crops grown and cropping pattern, usage of newer mechanical tools, its structure, number of people working in this sector, its produce and availability, its contribution to GDP, and prices of various commodities varied. All people have embraced these changes with open arms.
One such change that Indian agriculture is considering is ‘digitalization’.
The word ‘digitalization’ as defined by Google is ‘the conversion of text, pictures, or sound into a digital form that can be processed by a computer. Though the meanings of the terms ‘digitalization’ and ‘agriculture’ seem to be worlds apart, digitalization can be seen to play a huge and promising role in the field of agriculture. Currently, most of the farmers are familiar
with bookkeeping and making relevant calculations. But, the actual potential of digitalization is yet to be harnessed. Though this process might pose a few challenges for the farmers to get acquainted with, be time-consuming, and require quite some effort, the curve of the results is only going to be positive and onwards.
Importance of Digitilisation
Digitalization to farmers can be helpful in various ways. Some of them are as follows.
Weather prediction can be done by avoiding unseen circumstances & proper crop production planning. This way they might not have to be afraid of nature's uncertainties and will be prepared well beforehand.
Digital Bookkeeping makes farmers' lives easier as they will not have to memorize things. And also can keep a proper track of their financial flow.
This also ensures that they do not get cheated on by traders and middlemen. Also, inventory of seeds, fertilizers, cattle, transportation, etc, becomes quick and reliable.
Yield estimations help to preplan for compensation and pre-reach to the best market before harvesting.
Communication becomes simpler and they can connect to co-farmers, employees, experts, traders, and others easily. They
can easily buy and sell their produce. Their transactions become easy, quick, and less fraudulent at the same time.
Not just that, digitalization helps them understand the quality of the soil, the treatment it needs, the kind of favorable crops, and what season is
best. Digitalization can also cater to the farmers’ understanding of how the crops should be treated, when they should be harvested, how much they should be irrigated, their reproductive cycles, etc.
Why is farmer unable to change with digitilization
There are multiple challenges that farmers face because of which they are unable to take full advantage of digitalization. This is mainly because of their non-preparedness.
Though, there are a certain number of farmers who are utilizing services of digitalization that are mainly within the reach of middle and large farmers.
At times, this is because they are poor & illiterate. If they continue to be in poverty, then their children will not be able to get proper education, and this cycle of illiteracy continues and prevails.
Inability to adapt is another reason. Though the farmers know that digitalization could be advantageous to them, they choose not to apply as they are afraid of the outcomes.
Inability to access is also an issue. The farming household could be wealthy and technologically knowledgeable, but the place of their residence might prove unfavorable (rural areas) due to which they might not be in the best condition to use the internet.
Having knowledge but no money to buy equipment, electronic gadgets count as an issue too.
There can be many more factors contributing to the lack of digitalization in them.
Because of the fact that there are so many advantages, and at the same time there are so many challenges to overcome, the Indian government has been trying to help the farmers equip themselves with the power of digitalization.
For this very reason, the government has tried to help them by introducing initiatives such as M-Kisan Application, Crop Insurance Android App,
Kisan Suvidha and many others. Hope these small steps of today will render huge profits and a better tomorrow for all the farmers and the country.
-R V Pooja