The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) through the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) has formulated a collaborative research project entitled “SENSAGRI: SENsor based Smart AGRIculture” involving six partner Institutes (Agriculture & IT) to be funded by Information Technology Research Academy (ITRA), Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY), Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), Govt. of India and ICAR.
Reply to a query in Lok Sabha Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Sudarshan Bhagat said, “The major objective is to develop indigenous prototype for drone based crop and soil health monitoring system using hyperspectral remote sensing (HRS) sensors. This technology could also be integrated with satellite-based technologies for large scale applications,”
Drone technology based unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has ability for smooth scouting over farm fields, gathering precise information and transmitting the data on real time basis. This capability could be used for the benefit of farming sector at regional/local scale for assessing land and crop health; extent, type and severity of damage besides issuing forewarning, post-event management and settlement of compensation under crop insurance schemes.
ICAR through its 101 institutes/ deemed universities and 79 All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRPs) is engaged in conducting basic and applied research to cater the needs of farmers across the country.
The agricultural research needs of the country are being catered through National Agricultural Research System (NARS) which comprise ICAR, Central Agricultural Universities, State Agricultural Universities and Central/ State Universities having agriculture faculty.
The NARS in association with Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DoAC&FW) made available 347.31, 351.77 and 343.52 lakh quintals of certified/ quality seeds during 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively, to the farmers. Moreover, India is currently producing more than 283 million tonnes of horticulture produce from an area of 24.3 million ha.
By adopting a path of science-led growth of its agriculture, India reaped dividends in the form of a strong, self-reliant and resilient food security situation. “The spectacular achievements in the agricultural sector are attributable in large measure to technology-led improvements in agricultural productivity and investments in R & D in agriculture & allied sectors and effective pursuit of improved technologies by farmers,” the Minister said. Several pest management practices involving eco-friendly biological control methods like pheromones and release of parasites and predators are being used for pesticide free harvest by the farming community. Also cotton ginning sector is modernised through Technology Mission on Cotton (Mini Mission IV) and as a result, the country is able to produce cotton bales with a low trash content (less than 3 per cent trash).