AI in Agriculture

AI can detect plant diseases, pests, insects, locusts and chemical fertilisers, find out malnourished farms, detect plots of lands thirsty of irrigation and determine what should be the nature of treatment with fertilisers or pesticides. Basically, all these situations create data and it is AI driven sensors that captures data on the plants’ vital parameters such as pH levels and nutrient supply and others and and analyse the data. Farmers get relevant information on temperature, probability of rain, best time to sow seed, wind speed, etc. from AI driven organisations in agriculture. AI drones are being used to spray insecticides with highest accuracy and without the presence of the farmer in the field. AI also removes other forms of manual labor such as keeping watch on crops, finding out weeds and general condition monitoring. Space tech, supported by AI platforms is now in a position to issue warning to farmers for any untoward weather condition also. All said and done seasonal weather forecasts are much more complicated and need human expertise beyond data. At present AI is just helping farmers, but would it replace some of them? What do you think? Another point that strikes us is that AI would be availed by a section of the farming community, usually the upper section. And as most farmers are not technically adapt they would slowly adapt to hi-tech changes in agricultural practices. If change is slow and labor is indeed replaced partially, it may lead to increase in migrant labor over time. At the same time, the ‘Digital Agriculture Mission of 2021-25’ by the Union Government of India, may lead to the much desired Second Green Revolution in India as agriculture is becoming more efficient and more profitable.

Given the arguments on both sides, please share your opinion on agricultural upskilling.

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