Digital Transformation in Indian Agri-Business

By Titli Chatterjee

Digital transformation is currently
the topic of discussion across all industries, for its business transformation approach. The digital age has been accelerating due to the evolving consumer demands, purchase dynamics and customer behavior. Be it the early start-ups or the established companies – all are focused on the digital transformation initiatives in some way or the other. The influence of this transformation has taken a quantum leap in all industry verticals and agriculture is no exception. Livelihood of over 58 percent of the rural households in Indian economy depends on sowing the seed, along with fisheries, and forestry.

In the past, multiple factors like foreign direct investments (FDIs) and government initiatives have facilitated the growth in the agriculture sector in India. This growth is further improved by the use of technology. Digital technologies like social, cloud, analytics and mobility have unleashed better avenues in this sector. Though the farmers have been utilizing simpler technology platforms and social media websites to keep themselves  informed about the weather
and market conditions, they are yet to experience the digital revolution. This digital transition can be the factor that will transform this sector. Some of the innovative advancements that will play a key role in this transformation are mentioned below:

  • Chatbots for Farmers– Easy accessibility to new age information, technology and government schemes, event or training programs on farming. Since, farmers are well acquainted with messaging services or WhatsApp, this chat interface does not require any behavioural change. Also, scaling and upgradation of the technological platform should not be a problem, available across the country.
  • Data collection for Farmers– To keep a record on the soil condition, fertilizers used, crops planted, irrigation systems, pest attacks and other relevant factors on farming, creating an innovative platform that has the potential to capture all field related data would be a significant solution in terms of advancement in information and execution.
  • Implementation of Visual Recognition Tool– This particular technology can be leveraged to identify diseases,
    pest attacks or weather impacts on plants. A farmer can upload a photograph of a plant with a disease to a central server. This server can feed into the repository for probable options and potential solutions for the disease, saving
    time in treating the disease and increasing productivity.
  • Farming by Drones– For an agronomic country like India, drone farming can prove to be beneficial for the Indian
    farmers for multiple purposes like information gathering, sowing, monitoring & surveying the fields and so on and so forth.
  • Wearable Devices & Technology for Farming – One of the foreseeable hype of wearable technology would be the smart glasses which is yet not available for the general mass. These smart glasses will enable farmers to record real-time data and information and act accordingly, understanding the immediate anomalies of the farming factors.
  • Breakthrough of the Supercomputer – In addition to some of the above digital enhancements, one of the digital trends that’s is worth mentioning would be the adoption of $60 million supercomputer by the Indian meteorologists with 3D modelling technique to predict the next year’s monsoon.

The advancements mentioned above bring in a plethora of opportunities for the information technology firms due
to which, many service providers and product vendors have invested in developing solutions and services exclusive to the agri-business. Many start-ups have also joined the bandwagon providing niche solutions in areas like weather management, pest management, diary technologies, aqua-culture farms, supply chain technology, and analytics.  Some
service providers are also working with OEMs like tractor manufacturers to produce robust and high productivity vehicles.

Thus, the focus on the digital transformation in the agriculture sector is an appropriate initiative to restructure agriculture
business in coming years.

About ARC Advisory Group ( Founded in 1986, ARC Advisory Group is a Boston based leading technology research and advisory firm for industry and infrastructure. For further information or to provide feedback on this article, please contact

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