Taking A Step Towards Digitalisation Of Agriculture Sector; Government Signs MoUs With Five Companies

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The Ministry of Agriculture signed MoUs with CISCO, Ninjacart, Jio Platforms Limited, ITC Limited and NCDEX e-Markets Limited (NeML), to enable them to undertake pilot projects aimed at providing solutions to farmers using technology.

The Union Ministry of Agriculture signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with five different private entities on 14 September. These MoUs will enable these private companies to undertake pilot projects aimed to provide solutions to farmers using technology.

Through these pilot projects, farmers would be helped with arriving at informed decisions regarding the type of crops to cultivate, the variety of seeds to be employed and best practices which would enable the maximisation of yield.

Agricultural supply chain players would also be able to plan their procurement and logistics based on the information provided by these technologies, which would, in turn, help farmers make informed decisions about whether to sell or store their produce and also when, where and at what price to sell.

The MoUs have been signed with CISCO, Ninjacart, Jio Platforms Limited, ITC Limited and NCDEX e-Markets Limited (NeML).

More on the Pilot Projects

The pilot projects focus on building a common platform for farmers which would connect them to various market participants. For the testing of pilot projects, a total of 12 districts have been chosen from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Jio Platforms will develop an integrated platform which will bring various stakeholders of agriculture together; this includes farmers, supply chain and logistics players, suppliers of agricultural inputs, etc. The advanced features of the platform would make use of artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to give advisory services.

ITC will also be building a “site specific crop advisory” platform, but it will be specific to wheat crop operations. This platform would give site-specific customised advice to farmers.

CISCO will be working on conceptualising a proof of concept (POC) in effective knowledge sharing between farmers, administration, academia and industry. This will be done through the Smart Agriculture Platform’s dashboard, which has been created by CISCO.

NeML would operationalise its four services – Market Linkages, Aggregation of demand, Financial Linkages and Data Sanitization through its digital marketplace.

Ninjacart will develop and host the Agri Marketplace Platform (AMP), which will enable bringing together all the participants in the post-harvest market linkage.

Other Measure to Digitise Agriculture

The government has initiated a Digital Agriculture Mission for the period 2021-2025 for projects based on new technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, remote sensing and GIS technology, use of drones and robots etc.

The Ministry is also creating a federated Farmers Database and building different services around this database so as to build digital ecosystems of agriculture. Federated farmers’ database would be linked by the land records of farmers from across the country, and a unique Farmer ID would be created. This would be the core of Agri Stack.

The unified database would be used to store information of all benefits under various schemes of the central and state governments. This can be accessed and analysed to provide future benefits for farmers. At present, the database contains details of 5.5 crore farmers.

The government has also constituted a task force to lay down the framework of “India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture" (IDEA), which will be used to build the Unified Farmers Service Platform (UFSP), which will also be a part of India Agri Stack.

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