Enhancing livelihoods in farming communities through super-resolution agromet advisories using advanced digital agriculture technologies
Keywords:Livelihood, Indian agriculture, Agro-advisory, Digital technology, Marginal farmers, Transforming agriculture
Agricultural production in India is highly vulnerable to climate change. Transformational change to farming systems is required to cope with this changing climate to maintain food security, and ensure farming to remain economically viable. The south Asian rice-fallow systems occupying 22.3 million ha with about 88% in India, mostly (82%) concentrated in the eastern states, are under threat. These systems currently provide economic and food security for about 11 million people, but only achieve 50% of their yield potential. Improvement in productivity is possible through efficient utilization of these fallow lands. The relatively low production occurs because of sub-optimal water and nutrient management strategies. HHaJathrough Historically, the Agro-met advisory service has assisted farmers and disseminated information at a district-level for all the states. In some instances, Agro-met delivers advice at the block level also, but in general, farmers use to follow the district level advice and develop an appropriate management plan like land preparation, sowing, irrigation timing, harvesting etc. The advisories are generated through the District Agrometeorology Unit (DAMU) and Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) network, that consider medium-range weather forecast. Unfortunately, these forecasts advisories are general and broad in nature for a given district and do not scale down to the individual field or farm. Farmers must make complex crop management decisions with limited or generalised information. The lack of fine scale information creates uncertainty for farmers, who then develop risk-averse management strategies that reduce productivity. It is unrealistic to expect the Agro-met advisory service to deliver bespoke information to every farmer and to every field simply with the help of Kilometre-scale weather forecast. New technologies must be embraced to address the emerging crises in food security and economic prosperity. Despite these problems, Agro-met has been successful. New digital technologies have emerged though, and these digital technologies should become part of the Agro-met arsenal to deliver valuable information directly to the farmers at the field scale. The Agro-met service is poised to embrace and deliver new interventions through technology cross-sections such as satellite remote sensing, drone-based survey, mobile based data collection systems, IoT based sensors, using insights derived from a hybridisation of crop and AIML (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning) models. These technological advancements will generate fine-scale static and dynamic Agro-met information on cultivated lands, that can be delivered through Application Programming Interface (APIs) and farmers facing applications. We believe investment in this technology, that delivers information directly to the farmers, can reverse the yield gap, and address the negative impacts of a changing climate.
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Copyright (c) 2023 NARAYAN CHANDRA SARKAR, KOUSHIK MONDAL, AYAN DAS, ASIS MUKHERJEE, SUBRATA MANDAL, SOUVIK GHOSH, BIMAL BHATTACHARYA, ROGER LAWES, SAMSUL HUDA
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