Smart technology, smart farming’ are yet to be a big buzz in the Indian agriculture segment. Though agriculture in India plays a vital role in the overall socio-economic framework, current agricultural practices followed are neither economically nor environmentally sustainable. Lack of the use of hi-tech irrigation systems, crop failures due to lack of monsoon, poor seed quality, inefficient farming practices, undue output costs – the list of problems in most regions goes on. Suicides by farmers still hit the headlines; 17,368 Indian farmers killed themselves in 2009!
Use of smart automation technology in farming is the need of the hour. Awareness about managing of crop cultivation should be spread on a large scale. Automation in farming can increase agricultural productivity while ensuring that dependent resources are not depleted. Using the latest green technology solutions and agricultural practices, farmers can enjoy smart farming.
“Today, our farmers lack behind on the knowledge of better farming techniques. They are unaware of how today’s high technology can be used to get rid of their day-to-day farming problems. They should be made aware of advantages of Smart solutions available today, so that they can blend them as per their needs to get maximum benefit. Use of climate forecast, better field watering techniques, use of fertilizers as per soil investigation reports, reducing manpower by deploying Smart machines yields more output and less consumption of underground water resulting in minimizing environmental impact,” says Mr. Jatinder Singh, COO, Smart Automation Technologies.
Problems of climate change can be tackled using smart automation technology solutions. Based on weather forecasts, farmers can plan sowing, irrigating, putting fertilizers and pesticides, harvesting, and related crop management paraphernalia. Yes, remote management of farming can happen using smart automated sensors to detect humidity, temperature, risk of frost, etc. Based on humidity, watering requirements can be determined. Using hi-tech irrigation systems, the farmer can make optimum use of water. There are lots more farming related equipment’s that are automated. Becoming a SMART farmer is about using the available technology and getting better yields.
“Using fully digitized and automated green technology products such as SMS based pump starters (also termed mobile starters), CCTV cameras for monitoring the fields and pump house, humidity meters, etc. farmers can save power, reduce manpower, trim down manual activities, enjoy security, and smartly manage their farming. Today technology is ready to provide farming solutions, only thing required is to educate the framer about this” pronounces Mr. Jatinder Singh.
Smart agriculture or smart farming is all about managing crop cultivation right from the comfort of the home. It is about using automation solutions to:
- Know the exact condition of plant growth
- Know when to water the fields
- Sow according to weather conditions
- Know when to use fertilizers
- Know when to use insect and pest control
- Water the roots of crops for better yields
- Avoid unnecessary watering of the fields
- Get SMS alerts about availability of power.
- Monitoring the pump house and its access control.
‘How to get more from less’ should be the mantra behind every agricultural initiative. Three broad categories identify the crop farming segment, viz. seeding, irrigation, schedule and selling of crops.
In the irrigation segment, many a farmer follows the conventional irrigation methods such as using drains for evenly distributing water across the field from a pump. Instead of drains PVC pipes can be deployed. No leakage, no wastage, zero maintenance! Using less energy, water can be directly and speedily distributed to the target soil areas. If sprinklers are added, roots of crops can be watered. Motors integrated with sensors can be deployed to check water level and moisture level in the fields.. With mobile starters, farmers can get SMS alerts about availability of power. Without visiting the filed, the switch can be put on and off and the fields gets watered. Smart automated irrigation management happens right from home.
Irrigation and schedule are inter-related. Schedule is about the farmer knowing ahead about weather, and accordingly, taking sowing, watering, and related farming decisions. With smart schedule, i.e. getting weather forecasts on mobile, farmers can smartly manage their farming.
When we speak about seeding and selling of crops, e-Choupal by ITC Limited exemplifies the best. The e-Choupal initiative links the company directly with rural farmers online. Right from the farmers’ selling of agricultural and aquaculture products to their updation of marketing and agricultural information, this initiative covers all. Thanks to e-Choupal; challenges related to weak infrastructure, fragmented farms, involvement of many intermediaries, etc. are checked.
In short, integration of IT, smart automation, and green technology will help farmers,
- Maintain efficiency and enjoy convenience
- Improve yields and reduce output costs
- Manage and save power, thus saving on electricity bills
- Save on manpower costs
- Enjoy security of equipment
- Monitor crops and manage farm from home
- Contribute to a green environment.