Hi everyone, hope you all are doing well. For a last couple of months, I am sharing our development of Data Science work in SeekACE. Today this article is about future scopes of application of Data Science in the Agricultural field. Agriculture and allied sector contributed to 15.87% in India’s Gross Value-Added product. Agriculture and allied sectors consist of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing. This is more broadly classified into Crops, Livestock, Forestry and Logging, Fishing and Aquaculture. In the financial year 2018 – 19, Cultivation of food grains contributed to 11.5% in the Gross Value-Added product in the Indian economy. This percentage is based on the market value of the fresh food materials in the financial year 2018 – 19. In monetary terms, the value of 11.5% contribution of Cultivation of food grains and vegetables was more than Rupees 15 Lakhs and 30 Thousand Crores. More than 60 % of our population is dependent on Agriculture and allied sectors, which is 159 million people as per the Census data of 2011. I am thinking about this for quite a long time on this topic, especially how we can bring in a helpful impact in the life of so many farmers. Following are some of the areas where Data Science techniques can be used to upgrade the productivity and performance of cultivation of Crops.
Data Science Application to recommend fertilizer:
To get the maximum yield, it is very important to know which fertilizers have to added in the soil. Figuring out the optimum level of fertilizer mix is a challenging process. This decision involves multiple factors and the para meters involved are dynamic in nature. Some of these factors are crop nutrient uptake rate, soil chemical, physical and biological properties, weather conditions, fertilizer characteristics, interactions between fertilizers, land type, irrigation techniques, water composition and many more. Misuse of fertilizers is a global phenomenon. Majority of Indian farmers still believe in the trial and error method, guess work and estimations. Most of the times, excess fertilizers are added with a belief that will increase the yield and because of excess chemical fertilizers the land quality is degrading day by day. Because of addition of this excessive chemical fertilizers the agricultural lands are becoming barren and infertile. We have to understand the deep-rooted future problems and develop a solution for our future generations. We must understand that, presently Indian farmers are literate however they don’t have the knowledge to apply right fertilizer for the right crops.
Knowing the exact fertilizer rate is a science and requires a thorough analysis of multiple factors. Often, hundreds of dynamic parameters have to be considered. Such parameters include crop nutrient uptake rates, research data, soil chemical, physical and biological properties, weather, water composition, land type, soil testing methods, irrigation techniques, fertilizer characteristics, interactions between fertilizers and many more.
Because of the complexity of finding the “optimal fertilization range”, misuse of fertilizers is a global phenomenon. The majority of farmers still rely on trial and error, guesswork and estimation. The result is, crops do not meet their yield potential, and increase environmental pollution. Data science professionals are now able to advise the farmers with the right quantity of fertilizers.
Application of Data Science in disease detection and pest management
There are lot of researches carried out for the use of advanced algorithms in the agricultural sector to identify the patterns in the changes of nature which will be helpful in forecasting the invasion of pests and the spread of microscopic diseases. These tools will help farmers by letting them know how to manage pests. In India, farmers misuse pesticides due to lack of proper knowledge. Let me define the problem in a broad scope. Famers do not able to identify pests quickly. The problem only become visible when the pests have already damaged a portion of the crop. Now when the farmers, identify the problem their most obvious reactions are to add pesticide. Sometimes the farmers are unable to choose the correct pesticide and the right applicable quantity. Most of the farmers use pesticides as preventive cares without knowing whether it is required or not. Farmers always use excessive pesticides to make sure that their crops remain protected and this has a high long-term negative impact on the nature as well as consumers like us. Some of the insects are also highly beneficial for crops. These insects help in pollination and other fertility related processes. But due to over use of pesticides, these insects also suffer and affects the yield.
There are also other issues in Agriculture which may be addressed by proper utilization of Data Science techniques. In my next article I will be discussing about those.
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