With the advent of information technology (IT) and internet of things (IoT), agriculture in India is going to witness massive overhaul starting from pre to post harvest activities. Abhishek Raju, Director, SatSure, in an interview to SMART AGRIPOST talks about Big Data and its impact on the agriculture value chain in India.
Q. What is Big Data?
Ans: When data cannot be managed and analyzed using traditional techniques, we need to use alternate methods and that approach can be lumped together under the umbrella of ‘Big Data’, whose characteristics are high volume, velocity, variety, and veracity of datasets.
Q. How can Big Data help to solve long-standing problems in agriculture and food sector?
Ans: Agriculture productivity is dependent on multiple factors like weather, soil, pest infestation, quality of seeds, and water DIGITAL AGRICULTURE availability for crops, to name a few. The correlation between these factors can be studied using historic datasets, and matched with market factors like demand, supply, and pricing to better assess what crops to grow where, how much yield and acreage can be expected of crops, leading to better planning & management of logistics and inventory to and predictive market information of prices.
Q. Which areas of agriculture do you think will be most impacted by Big Data?
Ans: Big Data would have an impact across the value chain of the agriculture industry, from government for frequent resource monitoring at national scale to plan effectively, to banks and insurance companies, agri input companies, agri supply-chain companies, large contract farmers, agro commodity traders, and eventually even smaller land-holding farmers.
Q. How well is India positioned in turning Big Data into big opportunity when it comes to agriculture sector? Taking the current state into account, what are the challenges faced by Indian agriculture sector?
Ans: Government schemes for crop insurance, doubling farmer’s income, and rural development will drive the adoption of Big Data analytics into the agriculture sector, both by central and state agencies, as well as private companies. This will be immensely helpful for addressing the challenges that the Indian agriculture sector faces, by improving decision intelligence about crops, their prices, soil and weather patterns.
Q. Is there any unique demand of Indian agriculture sector in the Big Data space?
Ans: There are many Big Data companies abroad which serve only the agriculture market. The Indian agriculture sector is seeing a data revolution with IoT sensors, drones, mobile and ICT proliferating rapidly, and there is a unique demand for Big Data companies to step in and ingest, process, and analyze the data being collected from all such devices to generate insights that can be used for improving the agriculture productivity and lowering price volatility.
Q. What kind of business opportunities do you see in India?
Ans: We see a lot of traction for the Big Data analytics products provided by SatSure among central and state government stakeholders, crop insurance companies, banks providing rural credit, large contract farmers, and agri inputs like fertilizers and seed companies. The business opportunities range from helping executing flagship programs of the government in the agri sector by providing them a data-driven planning tool, to helping financial companies in risk management, and helping large agri-commodity traders hedge against price volatility.
Q. What kind of policy supports are there in India? What do you expect from government?
Ans: The government’s schemes for financial inclusion of farmers are a kind of policy support, and as a socially driven innovative technology startup, SatSure would like to participate in these programs and contribute towards national development, scaling the traditional barriers of financial criteria that usually come along with such large-scale projects and programs.