Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar (Centre), Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary (2nd Left), Minister of State for Agriculture Shobha Karandlaje sign an MoU with various companies for modernisation of agriculture in New Delhi.
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Ministry of Agriculture signs 5 MOUs with private companies for taking forward Digital Agriculture

The MoU envisages development of agritech solutions using the National Farmers Database which includes information of 5.5 crore farmers.

New Delhi, NFAPost: As part of its efforts to bring modernisation of the Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture signed MOUs for pilot projects with CISCO, Ninjacart, Jio Platforms Limited, ITC Limited and NCDEX e-Markets Limited (NeML).

The MoU envisages development of agritech solutions using the National Farmers Database which includes information of 5.5 crore farmers. Microsoft, Amazon and Patanjali are among the companies that signed agreements for similar pilot projects earlier this year.

Based on these pilot projects farmers will be able to take informed decisions on what crop to grow, what variety of seed to use and what best practices to adopt to maximise the yield.

The agriculture supply chain players can plan their procurement and logistics on precise and timely information. Farmers can take informed decisions about whether to sell or store their produce and when and where and what price to sell.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said modernisation of the agriculture sector will continue by infusing new technologies so that farmers can increase their income.

“A Digital agriculture mission has been initiated for 2021 -2025 by government for projects based on new technologies like artificial intelligence, block chain, remote sensing and GIS technology, use of drones and robots etc. Any attempt to transform Agriculture sector needs to imbibe an ecosystem thinking and a digital ecosystem,” said Narendra Singh Tomar.

The Agriculture value chain extends from crop selection to crop management and the market; it involves public and private players in agricultural inputs and services and also logistics. Establishing a digital ecosystem of agriculture needs to take a long-term view of aspects like interoperability, data governance, data quality, data standards, security and privacy, besides promoting innovation.

A significant requirement is adoption of a decentralised, federated architecture that assures autonomy to the service providers and all other actors and ensures interoperability at the same time.

Recognizing the importance of Digitization in Agriculture the Department is creating a federated Farmers Database and building different Services around this Database so as to built Digital Ecosystems of Agriculture. Federated farmers’ database will be linked by the land records of farmers from across the country and unique Farmer ID will be created.

Under this unified database for all farmers the information of all benefits and supports of various schemes of Central & State Government can be kept and this can be the source for accessing information for providing benefits to farmers in the future. So far, the database is ready with details of around 5.5 crore farmers.

Reliance has come up with JioKrishi platform that provides services to create a data-driven farmer ecosystem, enabling analysis of farmers’ specific soil conditions and irrigation needs and connect them to experts as well as educational videos. As per the agreement with the government, Reliance will roll out a primary intervention module in the Jalna and Nashik districts of Maharashtra as a pilot project.

ITC has proposed to build a customised ‘Site Specific Crop Advisory’ service using digital crop monitoring hosted on its existing e-Choupal platform, supported by an on-ground handholding ecosystem. Its pilot will be implemented in identified villages of the Sehore and Vidisha districts of Madhya Pradesh and support wheat crop operations, according to the statement.

Global Internet infrastructure major Cisco has developed a platform which integrates information from government, farmers, sensors and satellite data into a single dashboard, providing real-time status on crop forecasting, weather patterns, plant disease patterns, soil quality and moisture content. It will now conceptualise a ‘proof of concept’ in effective knowledge sharing between farmers, administration, academia and industry in Haryana’s Kaithal district and MP’s Morena district.

Commodity exchange NCDEX has proposed a digital marketplace project offering services in market linkages, demand aggregation, financial linkages and data sanitisation to farmers in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur, Karnataka’s Devanagere and Maharashtra’s Nasik districts.

Ninjacart, a fresh produce supply chain company operating in 11 major cities, will develop a platform to coordinate all participants in post-harvest market linkages, aligning processes for multiple supply methods depending on specific produce needs. It will conduct ‘proof of concept’ projects at Chhindwara and Indore in MP, and Anand in Gujarat.

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