19 May 2022, New Delhi: 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.
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, Nurture.farm 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.