Smart Agriculture is vital, now more than ever as the world stands at the cusp of irreversible climate change. A new era of digital tools and efficient processes are overhauling one of humankind’s oldest occupations. Agri-digitization, therefore, is not merely a natural progression, but a tool to empower millions of farmers, including small and marginal farmers to prepare for climate variability, be effective in carbon emission reductions and optimise use of natural resources.
Sowing a Field of Dreams
Conventional smart agriculture is built around a network of sensors. These provide precise and real-time information to farmers, which allows them to exactly chart out the irrigational and nutritional needs of their crops. Remote monitoring allows farmers to drive efficiency by effective and data-driven use of human resources to engage in higher-value generating tasks. Modern location systems, based on GPS and applications of drone technology, are also expected to bring a semblance of consistency to land records, further encouraging investment in smart agricultural tools, and implementation of smart farming techniques.
Nurturing The Grassroots
AB InBev’s Smart Agriculture Program, launched in Haryana and Rajasthan has showcased the impact of adopting a farmer-centric approach to Smart Agriculture. The program aims to ensure 100% of ABI’s direct farmers are skilled, connected and financially empowered by 2025. One of the key initiatives under the program is focused on connecting farmers to Kisan Hub, a unified platform to process agricultural data, monitor crops and deliver high-quality produce. Next, they were equipped with the right guidance from the ABI team basis the data collected in the application. The initial scepticism gave way to hope, especially when farmers noticed the persistence of AB InBev’s efforts, and the success of those who adopted smart agricultural practices. The predictability that smart farming brought to farm operations enabled farmers to be more structured, efficient, and maximize yields in addition to income.
The Smarter Way
The benefits of smart agriculture to the environment are multi-faceted. They don’t just reduce agriculture’s share of greenhouse emissions, but also create a sustainable model for food production. By sustainably increasing crop yields and eliminating the need to clear forests or over-exploit resources, smart agriculture helps forestall future environmental degradation, while also securing the livelihoods of those employed in the industry.
The advent of smart agriculture and AB InBev’s proactive initiatives in the field also demonstrate a model for collaborative efforts between businesses and communities, to build a sustainable value chain. It shows how a confluence of social responsibility and corporate priorities can help shape a long-term vision. After all, smart agriculture is not just about reaping the rewards of improved productivity and gain. It’s also about sowing the seeds of hope.
The combination of data analytics and informed decision making has allowed farmers to increase productivity, build resilience through soil and crop management and improve incomes while also showcasing how agriculture can be part of the solution to reducing GHG emissions, protecting watersheds and improving biodiversity.