In my previous article “4 pillars of big data” I discussed about who according to me are the 4 key stakeholders in society that can leverage big data in our country. In this article I will discuss how big data is useful for agriculture and the Indian farmer. Most of the socially conscious people I meet ask me, we are an agricultural country, 60% of the population depends on agriculture directly or indirectly so how can your big data help agriculture or a poor farmer? When I explain them the possibilities of what big data can do to agriculture and to a farmer, they appreciate my thoughts but soon they get into a pessimistic mode saying how much time will it take to do it? Who will take the responsibility of capturing that variety of data? How many farmers would commit suicide before it actually hits the ground? I stay blank but pass on some optimistic vision.

  • The first and foremost thing is the soil fertility database that determines which crop gives optimal output. For example, soil conditions for legumes, millets, oilseeds differ. So at state level and national level soil fertility database will surely be the starting point.
  • The second step is the consumption metrics of each food grain, collecting this data would help in assessing the proximity so that with minimum transport can be used for each food grain to reach its end consumer.
  • 3. The third step is to depend on farm saved seed and not entertain corporate monopolies of the seed supply; this will create a paradigm shift in farming leading to organic farming.
  • The fourth step is to register the traders and figure out the type/quantity/price metrics.
  • The fifth step is to map the end consumer and know who he is and how much is he consuming every month/year. We can use the data collected by the Retail outlets that are anyway printing bills for each item purchased, and automate the same.
  • The Sixth step is mapping the climatic forecast system.
  • Mapping the ground level farmers/traders with export community

Once we achieve these seven steps in agriculture, India will move to pre-trade liberalization period that used to exist before 1991 and WTO trade Agreement before 1995 era. Debt shows that it’s a negative economy, a losing one. We were a positive economy of agriculture transformed to a negative economy for farmers due to:

  • The increased costs of production and
  • Reducing prices of farm commodities. This is a result of trade liberalization and corporate globalization.

The data captured at the seven levels can be crunched as real time intelligence by big data players where each farmer can be hand held and assisted closely on a day-to-day basis making farming a profitable business and our economy an exporter of agricultural products globally. Young people can be employed locally supporting the farmers with intelligence. Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi’s vision of farm to foreign export can only be realized then. This should be the top most priority for both businesses, NGO’s and government as more and more farmers are committing suicide due to unsustainable farming. The following figures will give you the emergence of such a need.

Capturing this data and crunching it is not just a national need but also an untapped goldmine for big data players to build value to agriculture and farmers through providing intelligence.

Stay tuned for my next article on “Image processing and big data, the ultimate combination”.