ICT/Digital Agriculture

The rural farmer and other actors along the agriculture value chain are handicapped by the lack of information about new technologies. Information and Communication Technologies supporting the development and delivery of timely, targeted information and services can make farming more sustainable. They can also deliver safe, nutritious and affordable food, facilitate market integration and access to finance to make agriculture attractive and profitable.

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The Intelligent Agricultural Systems Advisory Tool (ISAT): Developed by a collaboration of Microsoft, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU), and ICRISAT, ISAT provides concise farm advisories to farmers on their phones. These messages are generated after analysis of local and global historical climate data, current and forecasted weather conditions, crop systems and soil-related information. The tool employs a decision-tree approach to generate SMSes, which are then relayed to farmers registered for the service.

Sowing App: Combined with a Personalized Village Advisory Dashboard, the Sowing App, pioneered for farmers of Andhra Pradesh utilizes powerful artificial intelligence to interface with weather-forecasting models (provided by USA-based aWhere Inc.) and extensive data.
This data includes rainfall over the last 45 years and 10 years of groundnut sowing progress data for Kurnool district. Such data about crops and fields is manually collected and uploaded to a cloud-based repository, and is used to provide important insights around soil health, fertilizer recommendations, sowing date suggestions and seven-day weather forecasts
The Sowing App has been made possible through a partnership between ICRISAT, Microsoft and the Andhra Pradesh government.

Plantix App: German company PEAT Gmbh’s Plantix mobile app is customized to ICRISAT’s mandate crops, enabling farmers to identify pests and diseases using their mobile phones. Farmers take pictures of the affected crop and upload them on the app; the pictures are analyzed using artificial intelligence algorithms, and results are then returned immediately to the farmer.

NADiRA – linking Earth Observation with IoT: Started in November 2017, NADiRA – Nurturing Africa’s Digital Revolution for Agriculture – is an innovation action to develop agriculture in Africa using sustainable digital farming solutions. It includes the industrialization of Earth Observation (EO) products, sensors IoT data and mobile devices giving stakeholders the key information to invest in smallholder farming. Specifically, it involves the incorporation of Copernicus, other Earth Observation products and in-situ sensors via agCelerant™ – an agricultural value chain orchestration digital platform that connects producers with banks, insurers, input providers and agro-industries in smallholder contract farming.

The Measure M&E Platform: Monitoring and Evaluation of Agri-Science Uptake in Research and Extension (MEASURE) is a mobile web-based platform designed to collect real-time, geotagged data about farmers, farmland, livestock, other on-field interventions, and other key indicators of agriculture research and extension. Originally developed as a field data-collection tool, MEASURE has now transformed into a full-fledged M&E platform to track activities, manage beneficiaries and provide real-time insights through visually enabled dashboards to the project teams. The MEASURE platform (i) collects geo-tagged data of farmers, farmland, crops, demo plots, capacity building activities in real-time (ii) provides a web-based multi-layered dashboard to visualize the collected data both spatially and temporally (iii) keeps track of the KPI and progress of the project implementation (iv) provides spatial distribution of the project intervention sites and the adoption (v) schedules and manage field level activities carried out by the partners/staff on the ground. In less than two years of the actual launch, MEASURE has about 560,000 records from 20 different projects within and outside ICRISAT.

Impacts 

  • ISAT: By influencing planting decisions, the tool helped farmers increase yield on an average by 16% across locations.
  • NADiRA: NADiRA is expected to help increase availability of credit, reduce exposure to climate risks, and improve smallholders’ productivity.

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