How AI Is Changing Agriculture Sector? What Are The Use Case Of AI in Agriculture?
Often I feel :
“ When Rural intelligence of our Farmers meets the artificial intelligence of the machine, magic is bound to happen “ –
Why Agriculture Has to Be At The Focus of Visionaries?
Poverty is a global issue especially in the Asian, and the African continent and if one has to really take this issue head-on, the only way out is the Agricultural reform. This sector alone has been contributing more than 1/3rd of the GDP globally and almost 17–18 % of the Indian GDP (As per 2018). Also, it has been the largest contributor when it comes to employment and income source for almost 50 % of our Indian population
India ranks first in the world with the highest net cropped area followed by the US and China.
As per world bank :
Agriculture can help reduce poverty, raise incomes, and improve food security for 80% of the world’s poor, who live in rural areas and work mainly in farming.
After this unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, the world has realized the true value & potential this Agri and agri-allied sector as to offer. No nation can think to alleviate poverty without prioritizing this sector. There has been an immense talk after this pandemic of Corona about the self-sustainable economy and self-dependent population, but an actual gateway to this kind of global vision is only possible when our Farmers are empowered with the required technological intervention and policy reforms which are hyperlocal to each nation.
As projected by 2050 we will be needing food security for almost 9.7 billion people on this earth, so it becomes extremely important that every nation’s top leadership starts taking some effective and concrete measure to not only reform this Agri sector but also to reform the policy which is tailor-made to encourage farming as the lucrative occupation.
Why AI & ML Can Be A Game Changer?
Now that we have understood how valuable it is for every nation’s top leadership to keep the Agri sector in their top priority list, the role of technologist, data scientist, data engineers, AI & ML leaders becomes extremely valuable, as we can provide the required intelligence through technology to help this skilled farmers get that vital information pro-actively to fight,
- Unpredictable Climate change
- Deteriorating soil conditions
- Crop related diseases
- Production loss
- Financial loss due to excessive use of agro-chemicals and fertilizers.
“Modern technology has to be made affordable and accessible to our skilled Farming population so that they can learn, adapt and use it to change the fate of the agriculture sector”
Application of AI Towards Agri-intelligence:
Artificial intelligence technology using computer vision and NLP has been leading the way in processing, agri-related historical data, and also the dynamic data coming directly from Farmlands, to pro-actively provide weather & crop-related advisory to our Farmers. This vital information helps Farmers
- To better prepare for the unexpected climate changes
- To time the seed sowing activity, right.
- To identify the specific portion of the crops area, in the farmland being infected by the disease and treat them smartly.
- To make use of fertilizer and medicine in the judicious way when and wherever required
- To minimize the possible loss of produce
- To better predict the market price trends to make the informed selling decision
What Work Has been Going In AI Feild To Empower Agri Sector?
Precision Agriculture :
Many technology startups globally are making use of Farm data coming from the farmland, using IoT devices, to store and analyze them, using powerful deep learning models. Image processing capabilities of Computer vision-based AI models are able to monitor crops and lands in realtime. They are able to identify crop diseases using the crop images being fetched by UAV’s and drone and are able to notify the farmer at the right time to minimize possible losses in the yield.
AI-based precision agriculture technology is powerful in identifying any pest-related issue in the crops and also identify if plants are facing any poor nutrition-related problems. With the advent of advanced drones, powerful cameras, smart satellite images technology startups in precision Agri space are playing a very important role to help farmers achieve better productivity.
“Drones or UAVs has revolutionized the computer vision world to address issues related all kind of sectors including agriculture, specillay when it comes to capturing images from some tough terrain and remote areas. “
Predictive Analytics: Weather Forecasting
Weather forecasting services have been the lifeline for many Agri based businesses and microentrepreneurs involved in Agriculture & its allied services. It’s a blessing for the Farmers who are no less than any entrepreneurs themselves.
Due to more accurate weather forecasting, they are able to make critical decisions about planting and harvesting.
A huge amount of data is daily collected and processed by the weather service providing companies, where they make use of powerful A& & ML-based models to make advanced weather predictions related to
- Rain Forecasting
- Wind speed
- Temperature changes
- Precipitation etc and many more parameters.
These are the vital information which when provided to the farmers at the right time helps them mitigate the possible damages to some extent if not fully.
Seasonal Forecasting ML Models:
There are some smart Ml models already functional which are able to make accurate seasonal predictions in terms of weather.
Seasonal forecasting models are able to predict upcoming weather patterns months ahead to assist decisions for farmers. These are useful to small farmers especially as they have a limited amount of land area and limited data to offer.
Substitute Labour For Human: AI Robots
Our ability to feed an immense amount of intelligence int the form of historical and live data into the machines and to train them to act and behave as the skilled humans had led to the innovation like AI robots. Using Reinforcement learning and deep learning our AI robots are now serving in multiple restaurants, hotels and now they have been giving their services in the farmland.
Though they are not affordable and accessible to everyone, we startups have this huge responsibility to make it available for our small farmers who are more in terms of the farming population.
Yet it is not easy, but this is where the opportunity lies and our intent to make Agriculture thrive will be tested . Specially when our new nexgen are very reluctant to take farming as profession and most of the labor involved in farming seeking other sector to make their livings , AI has the imporant role to play .
Given the extreme climate changes, scarcity of water for land irrigation, a new set of crop diseases, lack of skilled farming labour, and decreasing interest of Farmers in farming itself is very alarming. Considering the demand for food is increasing at an uncontrollable rate and our populations are also increasing at a burgeoning rate, it’s high time that we make
Farming a noble profession of high standards, yielding high profits for those involved and a symbol of pride for human survival. With this idea, AI and ML professionals have a very huge responsibility to come forward and make their contribution. Many agri-tech startups have to be formed, should be given the required support to thrive and encouraged to partner with rural population to make this world a food-filled and fulfilled.
I have started this series AI In Agri-intelligence, with an objective to spread awareness about Farming & Farmers, As being an agri-tech product leader I feel it’s my prime responsibilities to do so. In continuity to my endeavour, I will be writing more about what is happening in the AI & ML field keeping Agriculture domain in focus.
Stay tuned for more……