Centurion University of Technology and Management

1,000,000 Sub-marginal Farmers Uplifted: Skills and Technology for Sustainable Livelihoods

Agriculture

Skilling through technology for agriculture, for ensuring market-linked sustainable livelihoods to one million farmers in Assam, West Bengal, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh (population: 216 million)

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Lead Organization

Centurion University of Technology and Management

Bhubaneshwar, State of Odisha, India

http://www.cutm.ac.in

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Project Summary

Indian policy on agriculture during the past decades has focused on food sufficiency through the use of modern agriculture practices. A review of the policies has now identified the following shortcomings: climate resilience of agriculture practices, low incomes of farmers, stagnation in productivity and lack of disruptive technology.Govt of India has now embarked on an ambitious program of doubling farmers’ incomes through climate resilient agriculture practices. Treating the farm as an enterprise and the farmer as entrepreneur is the proposed approach. This needs reorientation of agriculture training and extension and use of latest IT advances like machine learning and immersive reality. This project aims to upscale Centurion University’s existing project through Farm Enterprise Advisors (KUS) to one million farmers using mobile VR and cloud based machine learning applications. These technologically disruptive agriculture practices will be delivered by the advisors through a mobile app. that is context specific and learner-centric.

Problem Statement

Historically, the focus of agriculture in India has been on food production and not farmers incomes, this needs to be corrected. Fragmented land holding and dispersion of millions of farmers over large poorly developed infrastructural regions makes it difficult for physical extension to reach. Due to this marginal and small farmers in India, especially eastern and north-eastern India, have poor incomes and form largest part of the below poverty line population of India. This skewed focus of agriculture has further resulted in poor yields, poor price realisation for the farm produce leading to poor incomes.Two major ways of influencing this problem are: (a) the use of technology for aggregation to bring input providers, advise providers, value chain players, and farmer producers on the same platform. (b) Providing immersive training and extension methodologies, delivered through a network of farm enterprise advisors (Krushi Udyog Sahayaks), development of cloud based backend machine learning based approaches, processing data from IoT devices and providing timely and precision advice for productivity improvements and better price realisation.The immersive training will be aided by context specific, learner-centric content appropriate to the target population to be delivered on a mobile device. This approach is to transform the touchpoint between the farmer and the institutional agriculture framework through implanting a tech savvy farm enterprise advisor who makes a living out of the transformation of the farmers.

Solution Overview

Research indicates that non-monetary inputs are better and timely farm data management enabled farming practices by itself can contribute to doubling farmers incomes. Such strategies have been globally adopted through self-recording systems of farmers. peripatetic farm advisors using cloud based apps and IoT and ML enabled models is a common practice in Australia, Israel and many other countries where agriculture productivity is far higher than India. Centurion University’s own experience has shown that farm yields can be increased by more than 50 percent using such approaches.The project will have farmers income and its monitoring along benchmarks as the sole index for monitoring the efficacy of the approach.The project aims to double the incomes of one million farmers directly in 2000 villages and also hopes to achieve results through demonstration effect in neighbouring villages. The project will create 2000 farm advisors as entrepreneurs and hopes to transform the way agriculture extension is practiced in the Indian agricultural institutional framework.While the project will have a deep and intense impact on the targeted 2,000 village clusters, the ripple effect (or tsunami effect) of the project is immense:· A million small and marginal farmers will directly benefit out of this intervention.· It is expected that farm advisory services as an enterprise model will be popular in India.· Agriculture as an IT application domain will be established leading to many start-ups and creation of employment. CUTM has the experience and track record to implement such a project.

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