1. Development of simplified, sensor based quick testing method to test nutrients & micronutrients in soil
The 11th five-year plan [2007-2012] acknowledged the importance of proper soil management in agriculture for the first time. For this, Soil Health Management (SHM) scheme was devised to assist State Governments to set up new static Soil Testing Laboratories (STLs) and Mini Soil testing Labs (MSTLs).
However, it is found necessary to further reduce the collection, testing time required for the sample to ensure on the spot results to the farmers. In addition, simplification of soil testing protocols needs to be done.
For this, the challenge is seeking development of simplified, senor based and quick soil testing methods to test the nutrients and micronutrients. A proven technology will be supported under Soil Health Management scheme so that states can procure directly from the developer at fixed price (as has already been done for mini soil health labs).
2. Real time assaying and quick grading solution for eNAM to effectively handle huge lots of agricultural commodities
Electronic National Agriculture Market ( eNAM) is a virtual market with a physical market (mandi) at the back end, which networks the existing APMC/mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities for pan-India electronic trading. The assaying of agricultural produce at the market level is of utmost importance to enhance the marketability of the produce and to enable the farmers to realize price commensurate to the quality of their agricultural produce.
Mandis handles huge volumes (lots) of arrival and smaller lots, hence it is essential to provide quick quality assaying solutions (preferably within a minute/ parameter) to promote online trading.
For this, the challenge is seeking development of quick grading & assaying solution for eNAM which can also be connected to the internet to increase the efficiency of the agricultural chain.
3. Development of e-marketplaces to connect food processors with agripreneur/farmers to bridge the value gap – Farm to Fork model
While self-sufficiency in agriculture has been a priority for the Government and several policy initiatives weave around this objective, the post-harvest management including agricultural marketing has not kept pace with the changes in economy, particularly relating to setting up of an efficient supply chain. The need to unify market both at State and National level is, therefore, important to provide better price to farmers, improve supply chain, reduce wastages and create a unified national market for agricultural produce.
In such a scenario, National Agriculture Market (NAM) would create a win-win situation for both i.e. agripreneurs and processors.
4. Price forecast system for Pulses /Oilseeds /Potato /Onion / Tomato at the time of sowing
In India, price of commodity is dependent on various external factors such as area, yield, production, Household food demand, feed demand, etc.
In this regard, a mechanism may be developed by startups who can use the data of past trends and other mentioned factors and bring up the prices forecast of the particular crop depending upon sowing, taken into consideration the sowing patterns, weather and other factor mentioned.
5. Dissemination of information to the last mile - Agriculture Extension, Scheme information, processes, hand holding support for benefit under different Government schemes
In India, farmers may not be aware of all the schemes that are implemented by Central Government and State Governments for their welfare.
In this regard, the challenge seeks development of an online platform at the Panchayat / Common Service Center / KVK level which will provide information to farmers regarding schemes and benefits that they are entitled to thereunder. Linking with Aadhar, Soil Health Cards and crop as well as health insurance etc. may be considered on this platform for the welfare of farmers.
6. Yield estimation modelling at village or farm level
The success of implementation of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana depends upon accurate yield estimates at village/farm level. However, crop yield estimation is a very complex activity, as yield is influenced by many factors, such as crop genotype, soil, weather, management practice and various biotic and abiotic stresses.
In this regard, the challenge seeks to develop a web based spatial decision support system which takes data from high resolution satellite, UAV, satellite based agro-meteorological parameters, sensor networks giving information, etc. to provide estimates of yield at farm level. The solution should be evaluated for 2-3 different types of crops taking a block/tehsil as the minimum implementation unit. The solution should be user friendly, upgradable and expandable to other geographical area and other crops.
7. Use of technology in sorting/ grading/ increasing shelf life of agriculture produce (fruits, vegetables, flowers)
In agriculture, post-harvest handling is the preliminary stage in a crop’s lifecycle which immediately follows harvest and is important to extend the marketable life of any produce.
The challenge is seeking technological solutions to increase the efficiency of the agricultural chain and ultimately reduce waste while increase farmers’ earnings
8. Use of technology to test adulteration of fresh produce
Food is essential for nourishment & sustenance of life. Adulteration of food cheats the consumer and can pose serious risk to health. Food is adulterated if its quality is lowered or affected by the addition of substances which are injurious to health or by the removal of substances which are nutritious.
The challenege is seeking for technological solutions to give the consumer an opportunity to detect common adulterants in food.
9. Availability of small agricultural implements/ micronutrients/certified quality seeds through online/call center interface – Custom Hiring Centres
Creation of regional Agri-Kiosk by the respective department to provide a kind of a one-stop shop for all agricultural needs providing services such as soil testing, seed selection, appropriate pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. Agri-kiosks can also provide the latest agricultural equipment on rent which make it easily accessible for women farmers.
The challenge is looking for solutions to improve the avaliability of agricultural inputs through Custom Hiring Centres.
10. Alternate usage of paddy straw (left in field after harvesting of paddy) to discourage farmers from burning the same especially in Haryana and Punjab.
Burning of agricultural biomass residue, or Crop Residue Burning (CRB) has been identified as a major health hazard. In addition to causing exposure to extremely high levels of Particulate Matter concentration to people in the immediate vicinity, it is also a major regional source of pollution, contributing between 12 and 60 per cent of PM concentrations as per various source apportionment studies. In addition, it causes loss of vital components such as nitrogen, phosphorus, sulphur and potassium from the topsoil layer, making the land less fertile and unviable for agriculture in the long run.
The challenge is seeking for technological solutions for alernative usage of paddy straw to discourage Crop Residue Burning.
11. Technology to subsitute the use of pesticides & insecticides to prevent pre-harvest losses
Insect, plant pathogen, and weed pests destroy more than 40% of all potential food production each year. This loss occurs despite the application of approximately 3 million tons of pesticide per year plus the use of a wide array of non-chemical controls, like crop rotations and biological controls. Due to lack of effective, affordable and eco-friendly technologies to control pests, farmers are left with no choice but to continue spraying harmful and toxic pesticides on crops.
The challenge is looking for technology solutions to substitute the use of pesticides & insecticides to prevent pre-harvest losses.
12. Seeking affordable, accessible, easy-to-use technologies, products or services to enhance agricultural productivity in India
One of the biggest issues facing the agricultural sector in India is low yield: India’s farm yield is 30-50% lower than that of developed nations.
Average farm size, poor infrastructure, low use of farm technologies and best farming techniques, decrease of soil fertility due to over fertilization and sustained pesticide use, are leading contributors to low agricultural productivity. Indian farms are small (70% are less than 1 hectare, the national average is less than 2 hectares) and therefore have limited access to resources such as financial services, credit (or lenders), support expertise, educational services or irrigation solutions.
In the short-term, yield directly impacts a farmer’s cash flow and the ability to respond to fluctuations in the market. Long-term, yield limits a farmer’s ability to invest into their farm’s future to increase productivity and decrease risks associated with their crops (via inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, crop insurance, market/weather info, livestock health support, etc.) but also to invest into their families in areas such as education, healthcare, training, etc.
The challenge is seeking affordable, accessible, easy-to-use technologies, products or services to enhance agricultural productivity in India.