Friday, 24 August 2012

IT in Agriculture

There is no doubt that IT has changed the way in which we live today. Particularly, the mobile technology has changed the life of farmers. Now, the farmers are able to connect instantly to anyone, anywhere in the world. Many Short Messaging Services (SMS) applications are exclusively designed for farmers for improving their farming. For example, information on weather conditions, commodity prices, crop rotation, up-to date availability of fertilizers, cure for plant diseases, etc is on their finger tips. A company called GoLite has a device based on mobile application, which can turn ON and turn OFF an electric water pump through SMS. 

Last week, a close friend of mine, sent an e-mail discussing about how IT can be used in agriculture. Here is an interesting way of looking at Information Technology applications in Agriculture (by Mr. Sridhar Chakravarthi Mulakaluri) :

1. Satellite image analysis for soil and crop coverage

2. Setting up of kiosks in villages for information dissemination

3. The remote switching ON and OFF of a water pump set

4. Experiments for improving a specific crop type

5. Connecting remote research groups

6. Information and call center service for knowledge support (Center for Sustainable Agriculture)

7. Digitization of land records to prevent unauthorized land grabbing

8. e-governance initiatives

I welcome the readers to add their suggestions to this list.


  1. Technology like GIS, Remote sensing helps in various water mangement activities like watershed management etc.
    But the problem is that inspite of largest IT workforce in the world this technology has not deeply percolated in the agricultural sector .

  2. A very insightful observation sir. I personally believe the next phase of growth will be coming from the agricultural sector as this is one sector that has a lot of potential for improvement and has been neglected for a very long time. In order to make a sustainable development, the role of knowledge dispersion and real time information sharing is the key support pillars for this growth engine. The E-choupal initiative by ITC is one prototype model for the successful implementation of IT in agricultural domain. I would like to include introduction of IT into micro financing and education of farmers will help in developing a transparent and efficient system for the farming community.

  3. As our friends have pointed out, there is a huge potential. But we need to find a revenue model for such adoption. Can we expect the formers to pay for this info? If yes, what is the info or help we can specifically deliver and how much can be charged for the same.

    I feel that we need to look at the 'Email' model where the information is free but someone is paying for the whole thing; either through Advt or some other means.

    There is an existing set of companies who wish to market their products to this target market. I think we need to design the whole thing so that along with the end users, these guys; who will be paying for the party, can see ROI.