Hyderabad: Telangana has identified agriculture as a priority sector and the State is focusing on developing AI-based solutions to benefit the farmers and policymakers. It has been envisioned to make Telangana a prototype State to bring a digital revolution in India’s agriculture sector.
The initiative AI for Agricultural Innovation (AI4AI) has been rolled out in collaboration with Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution, India, World Economic Forum (C4IR-WEF) to achieve digital transformation across the value chain, by working with all stakeholders to realise tangible benefits for the farmers, using AI and other emerging technologies.
A variety of use cases such as sowing window prediction, sowing monitoring, tillage estimation, area estimation, crop detection and health monitoring, pest incidence prediction, resource stress identification, early prediction of crop yield, harvest window prediction and progression are being piloted for two consecutive crop seasons in five districts of the State.
On the technology front, input technologies such as remote sensing (satellite imagery), drones, IoT (internet of things) sensors had been identified as the core focus while data processing technologies such as data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning have been identified as major facilitators to achieve fruitful outcomes in the sector.
These insights can be used to adequately plan bio-inputs, farm mechanisation, disbursements of subsidies and procurement. Advisories to farmers on when- to sow, apply crop protection and against which disease, and harvest for optimally timing the market are given to farmers.
AI-based innovators in agritech space need good quality and reliable data to build their solutions. Realising the government’s role as a data enabler is critical, the State government has embarked on a massive data collection exercise, with a focus on priority use cases. In collaboration with PJTSAU (State’s Agriculture University), the State is establishing an open DataHub, which will provide AI innovators access to data and foster innovation.
The AI4AI Working Group 4 Data-Driven Agriculture is involved in standardising data required for all AI4AI use cases. Agritech Data Hub is carrying out data preparation activities for four areas such as sowing intelligence, market intelligence, crop health monitoring, and irrigation management.
National e-Governance Plan for Agriculture
The State Government is working with the Government of India to deploy six high-impact emerging technology use cases in Telangana. As a part of this, the ITE&C Department reached out to the vibrant agritech community including technology businesses, startups and incubators for exploring solutions. About 83 startups participated in the initiative and over 90 emerging technology-based solutions were documented and screened.
Solutions such as crop planning and monitoring, irrigation management, nutrient management, automating farm operations, produce grading and quality assaying and traceability were identified for the NeGPA programme in Telangana.
Agritech Innovation Pilots
PJTSAU (Telangana’s Agriculture University) invited agritech startups to work closely with agricultural scientists. AgHub, a new incubator for digital technologies pertaining to agriculture sector has been initiated that will provide domain expertise, data and mentorship from agronomic scientists.
11 startups have been shortlisted for the first cohort with different core themes. The startups include Thanos for drone spraying, X-machines for robotic weed management, Transity for supply chain management, Marut Drones for drone-based diagnostics, E fresh for farmer producer organisations (FPOs)-based supply chain management, Satyukt for irrigation management, Krishi Tantra for nutrient management, Soil Sens for nutrient and weather management, Amvicube for post-harvest produce grading, Trace X for traceability and Super GRT for market place.