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Indian Start-ups need access to data and market to tackle technology adoption in agriculture: Anna Roy, Senior Adviser, NITI Aayog

May 19, 2022

  • Global market size for AI in agriculture likely to reach USD 8,379.5 million by 2030: FICCI-PwC report 

NEW DELHI, 19 May 2022: Ms Anna Roy, Senior Adviser, NITI Aayog today said that Indian start-up ecosystem is robust. "By providing them with enabling framework including access to data, compute and market, we will be able to tackle the issue of technology adoption in agriculture sector," she said.

Addressing the 2nd edition for the International Conference on 'Artificial Intelligence & Digital applications in Agriculture', organized by FICCI, jointly with German Agribusiness Alliance, Ms Roy said that the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence released by NITI Aayog in June 2018 identifies agriculture as one of the focus areas. The benefits of applying AI in the agriculture are immense. "AI in the areas of weather, soil nutrients, pest and disease management, fertigation, market prices, finance and traceability have shown a lot of potential. India's burgeoning start-up ecosystem has been actively playing its part in disrupting the agriculture sector. Opportunity in agritech exists across the value chain from improving farmers' access to markets, inputs, data, advisory, credit and insurance," she added.

Ms Roy also stated that technology is something which needs to be understood and understood in the context of not only its development but its use. "It is the adoption which will also nurture the development of the technology," she added. Agriculture along with education and health is one of the sectors where government plays a critical role in adoption of technology because of the nature of the sector especially in the context of India, emphasized Ms Roy

Prof Dr Engel Friederike Arkenau, Commissioner for Digitization, Head of Directorate Digital Innovation, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Germany said that the use of AI and other digital technologies in a transparent way can also be a great help to achieve the overall goal of sustainable agriculture worldwide. "Sustainability is a result of a balanced interplay between economy, environment and social spheres. This needs collaboration, cooperation and cocreation as a very important element," she added.

Mr T R Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee & Group President, TAFE said that AI is expected to play a key role in the growth of Indian agriculture relieving the sector from stressful conditions and catalysing shift towards data-driven farming. "Digital solutions including AI has potential to shift the country toward deploying best technology interventions in meeting its dual goals of raising income for smallholder farmers as well as continuing to strengthen the competitiveness of Indian agriculture through data driven decision making," he added.

Ms Julia Harnal, Chairperson, German Agribusiness Alliance & VP, Public Affairs Agricultural Solutions, BASF SE said, "Despite the challenging times we are living in, the agriculture sector in India and around the world has proven to be strong. Digital solutions surely are a 'game changer' in many aspects. Not only can they support enhancing resilience of production, but they can also support farmers to produce efficiently and sustainably."

Ms Deepti Vikas Dutt, Head, Strategic Initiatives, Public Sector, Amazon Internet Services Pvt Ltd said, "For agriculture sector to leapfrog, tech innovation needs to be complemented by business model innovation from Start-ups and procurement model innovation from government."

Mr Ashok Varma, Partner and Leader - Social Sector, PwC India, Knowledge Partner said, "AI-enabled models in Agriculture and allied sectors are imperative. To transform AI to Agriculture intelligence leading to widespread adoption of technology, a 3s strategy is required- Scale, Skill & Service".

Mr Pankaj K Dwivedi, Head of BD & Agronomy, said, "Technologies are abundant in agriculture. The incentive to adopt and ability to deploy in the field at scale is the key.  We are trying to do this on an integrated platform."

Mr Hemendra Mathur, Chairman, FICCI Task Force on Agri Start-ups & Venture Partner, Bharat Innovation Fund said that use of AI and digital applications in agriculture sector is here to stay and transform the sector. "There is a need to capitalize on the potential offered by digitization and AI technologies with a goal to develop an efficient and transparent data driven supply chain," he added. 

FICCI-PwC report 'Redefining Agriculture through Artificial Intelligence: Predicting The Unpredictable was released during the event. 

 Key highlights of the Report:

 The smart agricultural systems and technologies, including AI and machine learning (ML), are showing remarkable growth with the investment and expenditure trends expected to triple by 2025 to USD 15.3 billion, out of which AI technologies alone are projected to grow at a CAGR of 25.5%, highlights FICCI-PwC report 'Redefining Agriculture through Artificial Intelligence: Predicting The Unpredictable

Within AI interventions, Internet of Things (IoT) enabled agricultural monitoring is the fastest-growing technology segment, projected to be worth USD 4.5 billion by 2025. The global market size for AI in agriculture stood at USD 852.2 million in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 8,379.5 million by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 24.8% during the forecast period (2020-2030). This market growth is propelled by increasing penetration of IoT in the agriculture industry with implementation of data generation through sensors and aerial images for crops, leading to an increase in crop productivity through deep-learning technology.

Technology advancements in recent years are reengineering both the upstream and downstream segments of the agriculture value chain. Cutting-edge technologies in AI such as IoT, ML, cloud computing, statistical computing, deep learning, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are enabling the sector to overcome the challenges of productivity, quality, traceability and carbon emission with enhanced profitability.

With the adoption of innovative and transformative smart farming practices in the country is gradually becoming a major trend. Smart and technology-driven resource management, modernisation of agriculture supply chains, climate risk mitigation strategy, digitising farm collectives as farmer producer organisations (FPOs), emergence of a start-up ecosystem and government initiatives in digital farming are some of steps being taken to encourage smart farming practices.

The report identifies following intervention areas to enhance the AI based transition of the country's agriculture sector:

  • Regulatory interventions, Policy Interventions and Awareness and Capacity building interventions
  • Revise agriculture educational curriculum to include a program on AI 
  • Establish AgriTech innovation center through PPPs
  • Enhance outreach through existing network of Agriculture Universities, KVKs (Krishi vigyan kendras)
  • Building simple farmer-friendly systems and establishing sustained partnerships 
  • Increased investment in low-cost, open-source cloud-based platform solutions

These interventions if implemented can lead to widespread adoption of the AI based technology in the agriculture ecosystem of the country.




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