Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to play a key role in the growth of Indian agriculture relieving the sector from stressful conditions and catalyzing shift towards data-driven farming, according to a Nasscom-Ernst & Young report titled ‘Leveraging AI to maximize India’s agriculture output.’
Despite being an agrarian economy, multiple challenges hold back the Indian agriculture sector from performing to its potential. “However, with increased government support, growing agritech providers, burgeoning startup ecosystem, and rising AI adoption among the rural farming population, a strong transformation impetus is underway,” Nasscom said in a statement.
Data consolidation, lack of infrastructure awareness in data processing, and its availability have been some of the key challenges faced by the sector today. In addition to this, lack of awareness on agricultural inputs, access to quality seeds, lack of adequate irrigation infrastructure, and scarcity of farmer capital, are some of the challenges faced by the sector.
“AI has the potential to play a key role in relieving the sector from most of its stressful input conditions, catalyzing a shift towards data-driven farming. Leveraging macro as well as farm-level data collected through sensors will help maximize yields and optimize the use of available resources,” Nasscom said.
“The Indian agriculture sector can utilize the potential of AI’s transformative capabilities through effective data practices. The Netherlands is a stellar example of effective AI adoption in agriculture. With just a small arable land the country has become the world’s 2nd largest exporter of agricultural products by value leveraging technology and AI,” said Debjani Ghosh, president, Nasscom.
“For India to realize the full potential of AI, a coalition of government, industries, and startups in providing necessary infrastructure and policy support, enabling AI innovation across sectors, and mentoring and providing financial support to startups is imperative,” she added.
As per the survey findings, revenue growth, innovation and farmer/end-customer experience are priority areas for AI in agriculture enterprises. Additionally, companies are looking at a dedicated AI strategy and budget as key imperative to scale AI initiatives enterprise-wide post covid-19.
Nasscom said it will continue its drive towards catalyzing AI adoption in the country by enabling co-innovation and co-creation with startups, creating hackathon platforms for ideation and building of innovative solutions, facilitating research, and work with the government in building policy framework for AI in the country.