About Author: Dr Anup Karwa, Director-Input Marketplace, Innoterra. Anup is a passionate bio-entrepreneur with 16+ years of product research development and leadership experience in plant breeding, agriculture farming and microbial technology. A serial entrepreneur, Anup has sustainably scaled ventures to profitable growth curve raising US $30 million equity.
According to APEDA, India is the second largest fruit and vegetable producer in the world, with a production of about 295 million metric tons in 2020. Technology is revolutionizing the way horticulture is practiced in India. From precision farming techniques to the use of drones and artificial intelligence, the adoption of modern technologies is transforming the way crops are grown, pests are managed, and produce is sold. In recent years, horticulture has emerged as a key sector in India’s agricultural landscape, with a focus on increasing production, improving quality, and reducing wastage.
The Indian government has implemented several measures to promote the growth of the horticulture sector, including the National Horticulture Mission, which aims to increase productivity and profitability in the sector by empowering crop specific clusters.
Here are the key examples of how technology is changing the face of horticulture clusters in India:
Precision farming: The use of sensors, GPS, soil tests, biologicals like microbials, and other telemetry technologies is helping farmers to optimize their use of resources such as water, fertilizers, and pesticides. This results in increased productivity, reduced costs, and a more sustainable approach to farming. Precision farming also helps in effective pest control without damaging the ecosystem and other plants.
Drones: Drones are being used for a variety of purposes in horticulture, including crop monitoring, pest control, and irrigation management. For example, drones equipped with thermal cameras can identify pests and diseases in crops, while drones equipped with sprayers can apply pesticides and fertilizers more efficiently especially during excessive rains & wet field conditions. Multiple agri-tech start-ups in India are now targeting drone proliferation by helping smallholder farmers deploy them and analyse the gathered data effectively.
Artificial intelligence: AI is being used to analyse data from sensors, drones, and other sources to identify patterns and make recommendations to farmers. For example, AI algorithms can analyse data on weather, soil conditions, and crop health to provide customized recommendations on irrigation, fertilization, and pest control. The progress on applying digital tools to strengthen the quality control supply chain is slow albeit emerging rapidly.
Overall, the adoption of technology in horticulture is helping farmers in India to increase their efficiency, reduce their costs, and improve the quality of their produce. As the use of technology continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see even more exciting developments in the horticulture sector in India – Horticulture 2.0 if you will. To make the most of this revolution, there are certain pragmatic steps that can be taken by the farmers, banks and government agencies.
“As the use of technology continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see even more exciting developments in the horticulture sector in India”