Agriculture sector leveraging disruptive technology during the crisis- Krishi Megh


Many sectors are aimed at leveraging the disruptive force of technology, the same is happening with the agriculture sector, where the Indian Council for Agricultural Research(ICAR) launched Krishi Megh. It is a cloud infrastructure and services center for the betterment of farmers and agricultural output.

The National Agricultural Research & Education System – Cloud Infrastructure and Services which is also called Krishi Megh launched by ICAR is situated in Hyderabad. This center will integrate the available data with the other two centers which include the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute, New Delhi, along with the Disaster Recovery Centre at the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, Hyderabad.

Deep learning software and AI tools will be available in the new center. These tools can be used for the detection of ripening of fruits, pest identification through image analysis, and diseases in livestock. Hyderabad is located in a different seismic zone such that the new institute will come up at the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, Hyderabad.

As per Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, to meet the country’s growing IT needs it is important to ensure 24*7 access to research-based data anywhere in the country. Hyderabad city was chosen for its skilled IT manpower.

AI, machine learning, and IoT are used by various start-ups to help farmers engage in sustainable agriculture practices. One of the reasons for the launch of the new center is the report that came out in May based on the lack of migrant laborers in the field because of which farmers are not able to harvest their crops. The COVID-19 induced lockdown lead to supply chain disruptions was a major hindrance to the farmers who managed to harvest their crops.

Farmers had to leave some crops and fruits to rot and also to discard tonnes of produce due to supply chain disruptions. This only added to the issue of poor post-harvest management. The absence of a cold chain and also the processing facilities were already existing issues. Based on various studies a loss percentage occurred on fresh fruits, vegetables, and fisheries in India.

AgriBazaar is an agri-tech start-up that came in to help the farmers tide over the crisis because of the countrywide lockdown. It allows farmers to register and buyers like merchants, traders, and corporates give orders for purchase based on the list provided by the farmers about the products for sale. When the deal is completed, the start-up delivers it to the buyer after picking up from the farmers’ doorstep.

Start-ups such as Farmpal and a Pune based start-up ensure that the payment process of farmers takes place in ease and within no time. Fasal is a start-up that uses solar-powered IoT devices to collect data in real-time and transmit them to the cloud. Analysis of the data is done using an AI platform to predict various stages of the crop and climate change. Based on which farmers can take actions to achieve better yield and produce.