The use of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) in farming was the focus of a seminar on smart agriculture at Birsa Agricultural University (BAU), Ranchi.
Drone operation and application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in agriculture and animal husbandry were on display at the two-day national-level seminar.
BAU vice-chancellor Onkar Nath Singh said increased application of ICT can accelerate farming operations and ensure economy of time, energy and resources.
“Research and development organisations should contemplate predicting problems and challenges of agriculture with perfection so that solutions can be arrived at in advance. Increased budget allocation by the central and state governments for the IT sector underlines its importance in economy. ICT should be used to popularise crop varieties,” Singh said.
M.M. Adhikari, former vice-chancellor of Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Kalyani, said ICT and Robotics can take care of the environment and ensure sustainability while rapidly performing and monitoring farm operations.
N. Bhattacharya, senior director of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Calcutta, said since problems of agriculture in India like fragmented land, disaster-prone land and dependence on nature are different from those of developed countries, the IT solutions will have to be developed in India itself.
“C-DAC is working on it and will come up with a set of recommendations for application of appropriate IT for the country's agricultural sector,” said Bhattacharya.
Karunesh Arora, senior director of C-DAC, Noida, and in-charge of Krishi Mantrana Project, said mobiles can provide answer to farmers' questions by processing available data.
“Since the pronunciations and tone of farmers from different areas may be different even in the same language, samples of farmers dialects have been collected and fed into the computer with the help of some agricultural universities. This work has been completed in Hindi and Bengali while efforts are on for other languages,” Arora said.
BAU dean of agriculture S.K. Pal said human error can be minimised by use of machines. Human safety can also be ensured by using drones to spray hazardous chemicals and pesticides.
Organising secretary B.K. Jha said BAU has been making efforts for increased use of IT in agriculture for the last 15 years although the progress is slow.