More Crops Per Drop

More Crops per Drop

A national mission to ensure farm productivity and economic utilization of natural resources for a sustainable agriculture was undertaken by our honorable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi on July 1st, 2015 under the scheme of “Prime Minister Krishi Sinchayee Yojana”. The primary mottos of his initiative are “Har Khet Ko Paani” i.e. extension of irrigation facilities to every Indian farmland and “More Crops per Drop” i.e. sustainable productivity with increased efficiency of water. Government has budgeted Rs. 50,000 Crore for the period 2015-16 to 2019-20 towards PMKSY. The Government plans to execute various events under this scheme such as;

  1. Increased investment in agricultural irrigation.
  2. Develop cultivable area under irrigation.
  3. Improve economic usage of water to reduce wastage on farms.
  4. Adoption of precision irrigation, smart irrigation and other technologies for saving water (more crop per drop).
  5. Develop practice of sustainable water conservation.

It can be remarked that this scheme aims to attract investment in irrigation facilities and development of smart irrigation and other technologies related to precision agriculture.

Agsmartic has developed its own solution known as “Croplytics” for smart irrigation and it is in accordance to the Government’s PMKSY objectives. This enables time to time irrigation of farm lands automatically by monitoring the soil and crop, and analyzing the data to retrieve meaningful information which can be used by the farmers with the help of a mobile device. Agsmartic promotes an easy to use, pocket friendly and fully automatic water solution for agriculture which requires no human intervention.

The concept of smart irrigation

Every plant needs water, be it a green golf course, a tiny bonsai tree or a waving fields of grains. Farmers have to irrigate their lands no matter what. In order to make optimum use of our limited freshwater resources, smart irrigation is the smartest solution. To be precise, smart irrigation is the process of incorporating networked sensors capable of being centrally monitored and enabling farmers to optimize water usage with the help of smart phones.

The secret to smart irrigation is nothing but smart controllers. These controllers can use weather and site data to determine exactly when and how long to water.

Smart irrigation system is designed to increase efficacy of water and reduce its wastage at a reasonable cost. In addition to controllers, smart irrigation technology also includes sensors that monitors moisture level in the soil and delivers water accordingly and sprinklers that helps in maximizing penetration of water and minimizing runoffs.

Thus adoption and implementation of smart irrigation technologies save water, money, time and add convenience. Also they adapt to seasonal weather changes without any need of reprogramming. Therefore it is quite evident that these innovations have high potential to address the PMKSY objective of “more crops per drop” as essentially smart irrigation will ultimately lead to increased productivity of crop yield.

Reasons to adopt smart irrigation

India is a beautiful tropical country which has been bestowed with various rich natural resources and wide range of weather conditions across a vast geographic scale and varied topography. It is surrounded by Himalayan Mountains in the north and vast sea and ocean in the south and hence generalization of the climatic nature of our country is not possible.  As such, it is quite difficult to understand why India is still facing crucial problems related to water. Even though, India had vast water resources in the past yet the reasons for it’s depletion can be linked to myriad of causes over the years. Just to name a few are lack of regulations and policies, overpopulation, increasing demands, unsystematic irrigation in farms, etc.

All these reasons have collectively lead to a critical condition in India, where water is not only vanishing from the surface but also from below the surface.

One could only imagine the consequence, if the vast natural water resource gets exhausted before the human race is able to discover newer and artificial substitute!

There’s no denying the fact that the economy of India is profoundly dependent on agriculture. As such, India’s agriculture survives predominantly on ground water resource. Agriculture is consuming almost 90% of the freshwater withdrawals. India is one of the most water challenged countries in the world. It has about 16% of the world’s population but unfortunately has only 4% access to the world’s water resources.

Adoption of smart irrigation in agriculture can resolve a number of issues related to not only conserving water but also increasing productivity per farmlands. In simpler words, smart irrigation is basically tailoring water schedules and run times in farms on the basis of monitoring and analyzing data such as weather, soil conditions, evaporation and plant water use etc.

According to experts, smart irrigation systems and controllers conserve both water and money across a variety of scenarios. There are various controlled research studies available that indicate substantial water savings anywhere from 40% to as high as 70%.

The net cultivated area of India is about 140 million hectares. Of this, only 45 % of area is under irrigation. Presently, only 9 million hectares of land is under micro irrigation out of which 4 million hectares of land is under drip irrigation. This shows the long journey India is yet to cover for a smarter agriculture.

Smart irrigation helps farmers in various other ways too. Economically speaking, implementation of smart irrigation will eventually lead to a safe, time efficient, energy efficient system of agriculture where the need of direct human resource will be minimum.  With limited need to spend time in farm fields, farmers can now invest in their personal development, learning and acquiring new skills, involving in village activities, etc. and taking care of their family and leading a happy life.

It is safe to conclude that India will see much wider adoption of smart irrigation technologies in every farm lands in about a decade. Every farmer will be equipped with an automated intelligent system that can be operated with a mobile device. However such mass adoption and changes cannot be achieved solely with lip service.

However, daunting the goal is, it is still achievable and attainable. There is still time to reverse the crisis and given the right commitment and dedication, India, with the help of smart irrigation, will soon have safer water and a sustainable agriculture.