Big data analysis to guide farmers

Farmers soon will not be looking at the sky guessing when it will rain to begin sowing operations. Rather, they will wait for an SMS on their mobile phones from the agriculture scientists and officers for the appropriate time.

The efforts on an experimental basis were already launched in Telangana when the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) collaborated with Microsoft and the latter developed an application to guide farmers on when to sow, what crop to sow etc..

An SMS will be sent to the mobile phones of farmers in the local language, said Prashant Gupta, Principal Director, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft.

Microsoft, Cyient, Accenture are some leading IT companies that developed applications for other sectors too — education, health care so that useful inputs could be given to partnering government departments to make a change to people’s lives by making effective use of technology. These innovations were shared in a panel discussion on intelligent cloud and its transformative force on Indian economy in the ICT4D conference here on Monday.

The ICRISAT selected 175 farmers last year and advised them to delay sowing operations till they gave a go ahead. By monitoring weather data, the institute sent an SMS to farmers in the third week of June to sow the seeds. It helped the farmers as climate change made the rains unpredictable and their crop yields went up by 30 to 40 per cent as they sowed closer to the time of rains thanks to the guidance offered after analysis of big data.

This was a six-year initiative that was officially launched at the ICT4D conference on the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR) Platform for Big Data in Agriculture on Monday. The effort would be now scaled up to use the big data in agriculture and guide the farmers when to sow, which crops to plant by analysing if the rains will be on time or delayed rains.

“With enough data and enough analysts we will be able to say if the rains will be late or on time. We will be able to anticipate shocks, reduce risks and maximise opportunities for profitable and sustainable agriculture,” said Andy Jarvis, a research director at the Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 7:51:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/big-data-analysis-to-guide-farmers/article18460279.ece

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