Data Revolution in Indian agriculture
Polity & Governance
14th Oct, 2021
Recently, a document entitled “Indian Agriculture: Ripe for Disruption” was released by Bain and Company.
Key takeaway of the report
- Bain report predicts data-based conditions for agribusiness
- It includes identifying the production of other proteins, and food / food-based ingredients and initiating marine farming, etc.
- The agricultural sector (currently valued at $ 370 billion), is estimated to receive another $ 35 billion investment.
- The two conditions that allow such investment opportunities are these
- Changes to the regulatory framework, especially recent changes to the Farm Act
- Digital disruption through the government's IDEA program - 'India Digital Ecosystem for Agriculture'.
- The Indian agricultural sector in the future will put the farm on the fork and open the way to a single national market with a national speaker with better communication between producer and consumer.
- The report satisfactorily reflects the business opportunity available in the supply chain between the farm and the Agricultural Production Market Committee (APMC) and the customer, which can be achieved with the support of digital disruption and the latest agricultural reforms.
- According to the report, to benefit from the huge investment in the agricultural system, double the farmers' wage targets could be achieved in the near future.
- The IT sector is opposed to IDEA mainly due to the practice of making a unique Farmer ID based on a person’s Aadhaar number and the potential for data misuse.
- There is a common perception that large investments in the agricultural sector will benefit farmers; ‘But how’ was not satisfactorily answered in this report.
- Most small and underprivileged farmers are less educated and less experienced in technology. However, the capacity building of farmers is being ignored amidst these changes of prominence.
- The farmers' protest against the reforms could serve as a barrier or danger that led to the removal of these new farm rules.
- While we agree with the fact that data transformation is inevitable in the agricultural sector, given its social and political complexity, we cannot rely solely on technological reforms and agricultural enterprises to improve the lives of farmers.
- There needs to be a concerted effort to improve the skills of farmers, by establishing support programs, through FPOs and other farmers' organizations.
- Given the size of the agricultural sector in the country this will not be an easy task but it will require a different system across the country with more investment.