Agriculture ministry signs 5 MoUs with private companies for taking forward digital initiatives

The ministry of agriculture and farmers’ welfare on Tuesday signed five memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with private sector entities as part of the measures aimed at modernisation of the agriculture sector by infusing new technologies so that farmers can increase their income.

As per the MoUs, CISCO, Ninjacart, Jio Platforms Limited, ITC Limited and NCDEX e-Markets Limited (NeML) will undertake pilot projects, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar stated at the MoU signing ceremony at Krishi Bhavan. 
Based on these pilot projects, farmers will be able to take informed decisions on what crop to grow, what variety of seed to use and what best practises to adopt to maximise the yield. The agriculture supply chain players can plan their procurement and logistics on precise and timely information. Farmers can take informed decisions about whether to sell or store their produce and when and where and what price to sell, the minister stated.
The centre has initiated a digital agriculture mission for 2021 -2025 that will take up projects based on new technologies like artificial intelligence, block chain, remote sensing and GIS technology, use of drones and robots etc. Any attempt to transform the agriculture sector needs to imbibe an ecosystem thinking and a digital ecosystem. The agriculture value chain extends from crop selection to crop management and the market; it involves public and private players in agricultural inputs and services and also logistics. 
Establishing a digital ecosystem of agriculture needs to take a long-term view of aspects like interoperability, data governance, data quality, data standards, security and privacy, besides promoting innovation. A significant requirement is adoption of a decentralised, federated architecture that assures autonomy to the service providers and all other actors and ensures interoperability at the same time.  
Recognising the importance of digitisation in agriculture the department is creating a federated Farmers Database and building different services around this database so as to built Digital Ecosystems of Agriculture. Federated farmers’ database will be linked by the land records of farmers from across the country and unique Farmer ID will be created. Under this unified database for all farmers the information of all benefits and supports of various schemes of central and 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, says a government release.