New Delhi, December 15
Students at IIT Guwahati, NIT Silchar and Dibrugarh University in Assam have jointly developed a multi-lingual smartphone application for farmers to smartly manage their farms and remotely monitor distress activities.
Developed with a goal of optimising the in-farm productivity through Artificial Intelligence (AI), the application called “AgSpeak” will help the farmers in making decisions and managing farm activities through their smartphone or computer.
“India is a leading agricultural country with immense potential, yet 2 billion people globally did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food in 2019 alone. To end this global starvation, we need to double agricultural productivity in the next 15 years. Unless we use technology appropriately in the agricultural sector, this would be impossible,” said IIT Guwahati Director TG Sitharam.
According to Manik Mittal, a student at Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, the startup is leading this initiative in the northeastern India, which has untapped potential with diverse ecosystems having agriculture as the major economic activity.
“The developed application is multi-lingual and has an option of Assamese as well. This feature is a first among all the agri-tech applications available in the market.
Driven by hyper local crop data coming from satellite and smart IOT devices, AgSpeak considers up to 20 local crop parameters which are key indicators of their health like rainfall, sunlight hours, soil health status, among others, to alert farmers about probable crop threats in advance and suggest best practices to tackle the incoming threat, hence optimising resources used and maximising productivity,” he said.
“The app along with the internet of things hardware has been tested for the past three months with 500 farmers and two tea estates. Some of the major breakthroughs by the algorithm were precise prediction of blight in potato and tea mosquito bug, along with water stress in winter crops.
“These are major reasons of woes to farmers and small tea growers of Assam and cause lakhs in crop damages if not controlled in time,” he added.
Another IIT Guwahati student Akash Sharma, said, nearly 250 farmers have already been provided hands on training in utilising the full potential of the app.
“However, the user friendliness and multilingual features of the app make it extremely easy for farmers to use and seldom require training. The mobile app is completely free for general small farmers. There are in-app purchases like soil testing and agri-doctor consultation.
“Besides this, the IOT devices can be rented on monthly or yearly purposes by commercial farms to further enhance precision farm management. It has been tested with many farmers and its practical utility established,” he added.
The other co-founders include Siddhartha Bora (NIT Silchar), Nitin Chauhan (IIT Guwahati), Dhritiman Talukdar (NIT Silchar alumnus) and Kookil Pran Goswami (Dibrugarh University). PTI