India is still considered to be an Agro-based economy, especially as the majority of its population (about 58 per cent) is engaged in agriculture. However, the contribution of the agriculture sector to the country’s GDP is less than 20 per cent. One of the reasons responsible for this huge gap is the lack of technological development in the sector.
Most Indian farmers do not have large landholdings on which they can do commercial level farming. In their small pieces of land, they cannot apply ‘economies of scale’ and making an investment in technologies unaffordable for them. This forms a vicious cycle where the agriculture sector does not get upgraded, thus, the revenue generated from it is low, the farmers, therefore, stay poor and they cannot afford to upgrade their farms.
In order to increase the output from the agriculture sector, there is a desperate need for investment in agrotech in India. CSR can play a significant role in this by not only bringing about the investment but also bringing about corporate expertise in the sector. Nokia and Vodafone India Foundation have taken a lead in this by deploying a Smart Agriculture solution that aims to improve the productivity of farmers in India.
Nokia and Vodafone India Foundation have launched a pilot project in 100 locations in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The project will benefit over 50,000 farmers in the region by enhancing their productivity and income.
Smart Agriculture Solution by Nokia and Vodafone India Foundation
The project by Nokia and Vodafone India Foundation provides ‘smart agriculture-as-a-service’ solution, which utilizes Nokia’s Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) solution, and can ensure that precise and practical data is sent to farmers enabling them to enhance productivity. As part of the project, over 400 sensors have been deployed over 100,000 hectares of farmland to collect various data points which are then analysed by a cloud-based and localized Smart Agriculture app. The app provides local language support as well as weather forecast and irrigation management information. The sensors generate insights that help to improve soy and cotton crop yields.
Crop management through WING can include smart irrigation, smart pesticide control, proactive information sharing frameworks on crops and weather, as well as a platform for commodity exchange. The use case can also employ Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) technology or drones instead of traditional sensors for crop management.
Smart Agriculture is a leading use case that India is exploring in the 5G era. The complete end-to-end solution from Nokia WING is supported by deep domain expertise and an agriculture partner eco-system. Combined, it will help Vi CSR improve agricultural practices by introducing IoT-based solutions.