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Wednesday , 7 December 2016
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APPLICATION OF DIGITAL INDIA INITIATIVES TO TACKLE CHALLANGES IN AGRICULTURE SECTOR

The new initiative of government of India is Digital India which aims at providing the services to citizens of India with tough less paperwork. It aims at facilitating rural India to tackle the challenges they are facing . For farmers , there are list of problems which can be resolved with the Digital India Initiative .

Indian farmers post harvest loss exceeds 25% every year , which is a remarkable figure and put them in great loss and impacts food security and food inflation . Another problem with Indian farmers is socio-economic conditions, generally small and marginal farmers suffers have small tradable quantity which force them to sell their product to middlemen which realize them only 20-25% of the value paid for by the end consumers while in developed countries , the farmers get 40-45% of the final value. Also, there is no source of reliable agri-information and alternate marketing channel , thus most of the farmers either depend on fellow farmers or agri retailers or agri extension officer. Thus farmers have very few platforms to sell their products like mandis and market committees where they could not get right amount for their produce. Thus, lack of information or untimely-given information, when coupled with other factors like environment leads to a huge loss in the crop produce or crop quality or sale price of the crops and ultimately farmer suffers heavily.

Application of digital India initiatives in farming sector will ultimately empower citizens with e-access to government and related livelihood services . The 3 main component of Digital India Project are digital infrastructure, digital services and digital literacy . Mobiles are the preferred mode under delivery system in digital India with focus on m-Governance and m-services. Among the 7 services offered by m-services, m- Agriculture and m Gram-bazaar are the main services which will impact agri extension directly .

Setting up of online national trading market for rural India under this scheme would help farmers in ensuring smooth processing of transactions  in online trading .this would also ensure proper storage and transportation of farm produce following their sale. Through this initiative , farmers will be benefitted as they will have more options for their products then they had before, thus they can get right price for their produce. They can also engage themselves in selling their produce abroad for right price. Both the farmers and end users will be benefitted from this scheme as it will remove mediators and thus increasing the profit margin for farmers and reducing the product cost for end consumers. The online platform will be free of cost for farmers , thus again increasing their profit margin. An agency which will be setup for monitoring the smooth functioning of online portals , will also look after it’s further transportation and storage .

In digital India revolution, information communication technology is playing a major role . It is creating an end to end agri platform , which is providing it’s services pan India, through sms , apps and voice calls. It has dedicated agri call centres with over 100 members, speaking in 9 different languages . It is also providing custom designed CRP and ERP solutions for Indian farmers . This agri- marketing team is supporting agri- e commerce platform with agri produce aggregation and matching the demand & supply of produce. it also enable the farmer with the most basic information . therefore , under digital India , strategies are made to equip farmers with all kind of information right from seeds, farming practices, climate, disease, pests, harvesting mechanisms, application of farm machinery, post harvest strategies and finally proper marketing.

Thus, this mobile led farmer centric approach will take the agriculture to the next level and will result in quantifiable benefits to farmers. It will contribute to 10% higher benefits to younger farmers, along with 5-25% increase in  income of farmers. Even technology like digital green are helping the poor farmers to get access of new technologies and thus increasing their produce. Revolutionizing agriculture this way helps to increase the contribution of agriculture to national GDP. Cameras are being used in digital green to demonstrate farmers regarding good farming practices. Climate talks are also being carried out to address farmers of the problems they are facing due to climate change.

This whole process is feasible through public- private partnership. The main challenges in it’s implication are providing proper training programme, internet services,  24 hours electricity, availability of smart phones, tablets or computers to each and every farmers , uninterrupted services etc. This public private relationship can help in setting up efficient mobile based agri extension services, in establishing accurate and reliable market price capturing solutions , reducing the cost of farming inputs making higher profit margins for farmers, increasing productivity . By implementing these solutions through scale, it will help in addressing national challenges such as food inflation, food insecurity , resource optimization and finally inclusive growth. Thus, by these leveraging technologies, the pain point of the farmers can be addressed.

Thus technical operator who have created and managed agri information products across multiple platforms like android , java , SMS etc. can create multi-lingual call centre support for rural people . Rural project management team can be assigned for multi state execution and monitoring , evaluation and implementation. Business and financial assistance can also be taken which can have an in house team of agri- professional with proven experience in sourcing, processing and managing large quantity of agriculture  information and data across agriculture state. .  Moreover feedback study must be carried out by government institution  to check whether these bodies are working in right manner or not.

 

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