The government realises the need to bring about major changes into agriculture and incorporating the benefits of the digital revolution for better results. Through MyGov.in, citizens can suggest ideas on various subjects, one of the latest being Ideas on Smart Farming. So far, there are more than 140 (and counting) suggestions that range from increasing the use of solar energy to integrating rivers and more. Here’s an aggregation of some of the suggestions on smart farming:
Water Recycling and Connecting Rivers
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Citizens are now increasingly aware of the benefits of recycling and reusing resources. To conserve water, waste water can be recycled to use for drip irrigation, and filling up open ponds to increase groundwater levels. Farmers could then use open wells instead of bore well pumps. Many people also suggest connecting all the rivers across the country, which could solve water problems wherever it is scarce.
Farmers end up at the mercy of money lenders who charge a high interest, and when their farm doesn’t produce because of droughts or floods, they are in trouble. To combat this problem, people such as Srivathsan R, stress on the need for an agricultural banking unit. Farmers can get loans, and an assured system of savings and money transfer. Srivathsan also suggests that there should be a three-way cycle in place, involving agri-banking, agri-storage and e-commerce, which can reduce wastage of resources.
Extensive Use of Renewable Resources
To promote a sustainable, eco-friendly, pollution-free environment, farmers could use solar powered technology. Ajit Salunke suggests using solar powered ploughing robots, robotic lawn mowers and weed removers, automated sprinklers, solar lights and so on. He also adds that they could be controlled through GSM technology, SMS, or Bluetooth. Kishore Patel on the other hand suggests developing affordable warehouse that run on solar power in every village to preserve farm produce. S K Mohapatra suggests ethanol based fuel for all farming purposes, which could decrease the burden of fuel imports. Jagadeesh Henjarappa from Karnataka suggests ditching chemical-laden fertilisers and instead using ‘biochemical bio-actives’, which he says yielded 35% to 60% better produce during field tests.
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Source: Wikimedia Commons
Anindita Sinharay suggests a vital shift to organic farming in cities, towns and villages. She also says that the segregation of waste is important, so that biodegradable waste from households can be collected to produce bio-fertilisers. It hits two birds with one stone – solves the problem of waste management, while also fertilising farm lands. Shyam Sundar Varadhan suggests converting rooftops of buildings and houses in cities into small farms to grow organic vegetables. Again, organic manure from biodegradable waste and cow dung from cattle can be used to fertilise the patch. He also suggests that unused patches of land between buildings can also be converted to urban farms.
Apps and Gadgets to Enable Better Farming
Bidhan Roy says that apps and the internet can digitally revolutionise farming. He suggests an app for testing pH levels (after testing soil on a physical pH strip, click the picture and send it to the app, which will provide colour analysis to determine its chemical composition), along with informational apps about seeds and a database of bio-manure. Kamlesh Gohani’s idea about Direct to Farm communication could be used to bring together all technological facilities such as radio (DD Kisan), farming apps and bank-related information to one place.