Next Green Revolution
By Pijus Kar, September 8, 2017
Agriculture has been the backbone of the Indian economy, accounting for the principal means of livelihood for over 58% of rural households. The agriculture and food management sector has seen a sluggish growth since 2013, when it was poised at 13.7% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). As per the 2nd advised estimates by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the share of agriculture and allied sectors (including agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishery) is expected to be 17.3% of the Gross Value Added (GVA) during 2016-17.
In the past few years we have witnessed quite a lot of initiatives aiming at strengthening the manufacturing sector. From DEFENCE joint ventures to modernization of existing manufacturing facilities, a significant change can be seen in the manufacturing sector. Such enthusiasm is missing when it comes to the agriculture sector.
But, following recent developments, it’s quite perceivable that the government is actively seeking for advanced technology aided agriculture and food management methodologies. One such recent occasion was when Our Prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi visited Israel. Israel has always set high standards in whatever they do, whether it is the startup revolution, Defense technology or advanced agriculture methodologies, they have never failed to amaze mankind with innovations.
Both India and Israel, have been engaged in setting up state of the art centers of excellence in agriculture as part of the Indo-Israel Agriculture Project (IIAP) since 2008. The IIAP is a three-way collaboration between the Central government of India, the Israeli government and the individual states of India. So far, of the proposed 26 centers of excellence, 15 have become fully operational, while the remaining centers are expected to start operations early next year.
One of the technologies adopted by Israel is based on Image recognition and processing. This technology in particular aims at identifying the land patches which are water deficient and need watering. An aerial drone survey is conducted over huge patches of cultivated land. One of the basic principles of the concept of precision agriculture is to fit resources to needs, according to temporal and spatial variability in the field. The temperature values in the images were converted to Crop Water Stress Index (CWSI) values, which in turn were converted to leaf water potential (LWP) values by applying artificial modeling tools.
This technology is accounted for Israel’s transition from a water deficient nation to now a water surplus country.
Comparing both the nations geographically, India has a clear upper hand as it is blessed with huge natural cultivable land masses. But it’s the demographic comparison which forces us to recognize the necessity to come up with modern and sustainable agricultural methodologies. Taking a note of Israeli agricultural innovations, India surely holds the potential to be the agricultural hub of ASIA in the near future.