What do you think of the use of technology in agriculture, and how is the government involved? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of State, Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, GOI, on Quora:
Everybody knows about the various technologies and their role in various schemes like Soil health card and Neem Coated Urea etc. As an agricultural minister, I would like to cite some technological information that we are deploying that is known within the core nucleus of the Agri Ministry and not in the public.
When India got its independence, we had land records and their production potential that existed from British times. A cumbersome process that had to have officials on the ground, in fields taking data. At the same time, statistics was becoming a very big mathematical and analytical tool to ease the process of census and streamline processes and increase their efficiency. It was at this time that India’s brightest statistician, P.C. Mahalanobis, who many might remember from the much-derided and debated Mahalaonbis Plan, came out with a magic formula to closely guess the production capacity of an area and expected yield by sampling a data set with limited number of entries. This was known as the “Mahalanobis Distance”. A way by which the production estimates of crop production from an area could be rightly guessed, the procurement strategy, the pricing of the production, the import policy, and the warehousing strategy could all be formulated. The Mahalanobis Distance was essentially the large-scale mathematical derivation of a small sample of crop cutting done for 4 meters of land and its production capacity checked. This land was selected from a random sample and thus the production yield of the land would be extrapolated for the whole area to guess the production potential and production estimates from that year. This method worked wonders; ease of governance increased, and time and number of feet on the ground could be lessened. This algorithm drove our policy forward for many decades.
The way we think is changing, and while the old custom of crop cutting by using crop cutting experiments and the use of the Mahalanobis distance is still taking place, we are also using satellite imagery and other such large-scale data gathering systems to arrive at the actual crop yield and production capacity from an area. This approach has been intensified in our government and action plans have been prepared by the country’s space agencies to actualize the full potential of technology and align the agricultural policies in India with respect to the same.
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Article Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/04/27/how-technology-is-taking-over-agriculture-in-india/#67fa668f483a