At this year's ceremony at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology in Jammu, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the country’s agriculture sector needs innovative technologies such as blockchain in order to improve agriculture.
Agriculture is India’s principle means of livelihood and accounts for 58% of all rural households, however, the sector has multiple issues such as “poor quality seeds, inferior fertilisers and medicines” which are being supplied to the farmers. This ultimately creates low yields and reeks havoc on income. India’s government has been very active in the agriculture sector, and “the changes that blockchain technology and artificial intelligence will bring about in agriculture will be revolutionary. As of now, farmers in a few parts of the country are already using this technology in their practices.”
Using blockchain, the prime minister believes that it would help facilitate real-time monitoring of supply chain, bring transparency to agricultural transactions, eliminate the nuisance created by middlemen, and help to curb the wastage of agricultural produce. “With the help of this technique, from the production stage to produce reaching farmers, every part of the progress will be visible,” Modi said. “There will be an entire network of people, including farmers, regulatory bodies, processing units, etc., in the blockchain. All this will be possible with the help of regulation and consensus system known as smart contracts. There will be less scope for corruption.”
Embracing AI and Block Chain Technology would be beneficial for our agriculture sector. pic.twitter.com/hUVeGIscin— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 19, 2018
In February, Modi said that disruptive technologies such as blockchain will “have a profound impact on the way we live and work” in the future. “We will require rapid adaptation in our workplaces,” Modi said at the time. “Skilling (sic) citizens for the workforce of the future is important. In India, we have launched the National Skill Development Mission to prepare our children and youth for a productive and bright future. We also need to ensure that our existing workforce is able to re-skill as new technologies emerge.”
The government has also set its goals to double India’s farming economy by 2022, and has established a think tank “NITI Aayog”. The think tank is preparing an action plan with several technological initiatives.
Technology has already been deployed in trials across the country. For example, drones have been deployed for pest control, soil mapping and community pricing has been put to use, and several new Indian start-ups have sprung up in order to achieve these goals.
To achieve the targets, Modi has announced his four-point strategy: reducing cultivation costs, ensuring profitable prices, processing farm waste and creating non-farm sources of income.