US multinational tech conglomerate Cisco, Kolkata-based corporate major ITC, commodities major’s IT arm NCDEX e-Markets Ltd (NeML), Reliance Industries’ IT arm Jio Platforms and India’s largest fresh produce supply chain firm Ninjacart have signed separate memoranda of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Agriculture for pilot projects to help the Centre build a database of farmers in the country.
The MoUs were signed by Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar at a ceremony in New Delhi on Tuesday. The five firms will develop proof of concepts (PoC) for the agriculture sector.
The PoCs will help the Centre in understanding solutions that can be built using available data and some of them, if found beneficial to the farmers, will be scaled up at national level.
The firms have signed the MoUs on a pro bono (without any charge) basis for one year to develop the PoCs.
Tomar said, "Based on these pilot projects, farmers will be able to make informed decisions on what crop to grow, what variety of seed to use and what best practises to adopt to maximise the yield."
"Farmers can also make informed decisions about whether to sell or store their produce and when and where and what price to sell," he further added.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers welfare, a Digital Agriculture mission has been initiated for 2021 -2025 by the government for projects based on new technologies like artificial intelligence, block chain, remote sensing and GIS technology, use of drones and robots etc.
Under this mission, the Federated farmers' database will be linked by the land records of farmers from across the country and a unique Farmer ID will be created, the statement by the ministry read.
In addition, a database for all farmers the information on all benefits and supports of various schemes of Central & State Government can be kept and this can be the source for accessing information for providing benefits to farmers in the future.
So far, the database is ready with details of around 5.5 crore farmers.
The Agriculture Ministry had additionally signed MoUs with Microsoft, Amazon, ESRI India Technologies, Star Agribazaar and Patanjali Organic Research Institute.
Agriculture Ministry sources said more firms could come on board to develop PoCs with the Centre speeding up efforts to create an Agristack as part of building a Digital Agriculture Mission during 2021-21.
Image source: Orissadiary