Last sowing season, 3,000 farmers across southern India waited to get a text message before planting their crops. The message came from an Artificial Intelligence-based Sowing App, which recommended a date three weeks later than traditional planting times.
Welcome to digital agriculture, where technologies such as Artificial intelligence (AI), Cloud Machine Learning, Satellite Imagery and advanced analytics are empowering smallholder farmers to increase their income through higher crop yields and greater price control.
AI Sowing App enables smart farming
Developed by Microsoft with the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, the AI Sowing App works by assessing historical climate data against real-time measures like the water level in soil. Information predicts sowing times while aiding farmers in preparing their land and creating optimum blends of fertilizers.
With AI assistance, crop yields have increased between 10% and 30% across a host of crops, including groundnut, ragi, maize (corn), rice, and cotton.
A simple tech solution to age-old problems
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 80% of farmers in India are smallholders and depend on family labour. Though many are poor and lack food security, local populations depend on their ability to produce. Inexpensive technology like Microsoft’s app provides practical options for farmers to help themselves meet traditional challenges, possibly fostering improvements that reverberate throughout their communities and beyond.
“We are certain that digital agriculture supported by advanced technology platforms will truly benefit farmers.”
“We are certain that digital agriculture supported by advanced technology platforms will truly benefit farmers,” said Dr T.N. Prakash Kammardi from Karnataka state government. “We believe Microsoft’s technology will support these innovative experiments which will help us transform the lives of the farmers in our state.”