Applications Of Digital And Technological Revolutions In Agriculture Sector Of India

Anshul Watts, Archana Watts, Era Vaidya Malhotra and Kishor U Tribhuvan ICAR National Research Centre , Plant Biotechnology, Pusa Campus, New Delhi-110012 ICAR Indian Agriculture Research Institute, Pusa Campus, New Delhi-110012 ICAR National Bureau of Pl

2018-10-09 03:42:43



Various digital, technological and information innovations have revolutionized the world in the last few years. These revolutions have changed our way of working and living, our social life, decisiontaking ability, communication, modes of travel, healthcare etc. Agriculture is one sector on which majority of the population of our country is dependent for its livelihood. However, a majority of the farmers are resource poor small and marginal farmers with limited landholding and therefore they are very less aware about upcoming advanced technologies and digitalization. A recent survey conducted by McKinsey found that in United States, the agricultural sector ranks 23rd out of 25 industries in terms of digitalization applications.

Digitalization has great potential and can be used for both agricultural research and farmers welfare purposes. Various kinds of data are being generated regularly through plant genome sequencing projects, application of fertilizers, pesticides, soil chemicals, climate and crop protection practices, which can be further used to generate various kinds of information, databases and mobile apps.  These can prove highly useful for developing improved crop varieties, better farming practices and prevents the post-harvest losses of food crops. In the present article we have discussed how the digital and technological applications can change agriculture research, farming systems as well as life of small and marginal farmers in a very efficient way.

Key players of digitalization and information technology that can be used in agriculture research and farmers welfare

  • Mobile phones
  • Mobile phone based apps
  • Sensors and chips
  • Computer based databases

Application in agriculture research

          Conventionally the agricultural research which started from field experiments has now totally shifted to start from data analysis of crop plants. In the past 15 years, genome sequence of various plant species has become available, providing a large genomic data set for each crop. This is proving to be very useful for researchers as it not only helps in accelerating the time to release new varieties but also helps to identify key genes responsible for particular traits. Further this information can also help to develop varieties with novel traits. The science of plant breeding has also changed dramatically in the recent past. Plant breeders have conventionally been recording phenotypic data manually, but currently various sensors like thermosensors, spectral sensors, time of flight sensors and cameras are being used for recording various phenotypic data. Various online databases are available which are useful for analysis of this data and for sharing of these data across various institutes. These high throughput softwares and databases have accelerated the science of plant breeding and reduced the time in release of new varieties. Conventionally, developing a new variety took 15-20 years, but now this time has been significantly reduced due to the various new technological and digital applications in agriculture.

Various types of sensors and chips are being used by scientists in the field which provide information related to the soil health, fertilizer requirement, insect, pest and disease infestation and status of water availability. Drones are also used by the researchers to study and understand various important crop health related parameters. Climate data and yield data of the crops from last few years is combined for development of yield models.

Application in farmers welfare

Around 6 billion people use mobile phonesacross the world. India alone is having 720 million mobile phone users, out of which 320 million users are from rural areas. Therefore, mobile is one of the easiest ways to disseminate useful information to farmers and at the same time it can also be used to collect data and understand agricultural problems. Kisan Call Center (KCC) is one such initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture And Farmers Welfare, Government of India, where farmers can call and discuss agriculture and crop production related issues. KCC is not only available in hindi and english but in several regional languages as well.

 In the last few years various mobile based apps have been developed which are highly useful for farmers. Applications of these apps range from identification of pests, diseases, weeds, and information on fertilizer dose, pesticide application and market price of crops. One such app developed is PLANTIX, which is used for identification of disease and pest infestation as well as to know about the nutrient deficiency status. Along with identification it can also be used to know about corrective measures for the disease/pest infestation/nutrient deficiency. Certain mobile based apps are useful for identification of weed plants in the field. Ag Weed ID is one such app which can be used to identify particular weed in the field and after identification of the weed particular herbicide can be used for the weed plant. There are certain apps which provide some key information related to farming like fertilizer applications, climate forecast and prices of the crop in nearby markets. Some of the apps which are highly useful in agriculture sector are enlisted in table 1.

Table 1. Various agriculture related mobile apps used in India and their applications

Mobile app name


Kisan Suvidha

  • Current weather and forecast next five days weather
  • Market prices of commodities
  • Fertilizers, seeds, machinery knowledge etc

IFFCO Kisan Agriculture

  • Weather advisory
  • Market prices of commodities
  • Provides helpline numbers of Kisan Call Centers

 RML Farmer – Krishi Mitr


  • Commodity prices
  • Pesticides and fertilizers usage
  • Farm and farmer related news
  • Weather forecast
  • Government’s agricultural policies and schemes

Pusa Krishi


  • Technologies like various crop varieties and farm practicesdeveloped by Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI)



  • Information on Crop Production
  • Crop Protection
  • All relevant agriculture allied services



  • Organic Farming
  • Provide important information/issues related to farmers in India



  • Market prices of the crops/commodities

Apart from mobile based apps certain sensors and chips can also be used in various farming practices and transportation of farm products from one place to another. GPS enabled sensors and chips which provide information related to the temperature and humidity can be used while transporting agricultural products from one place to another place. These sensors give an alert if there is change in optimum temperature and relative humidity.


Digitalization, technological and information revolution have changed every area of our day to day life, but agriculture is an area where its applications still remain largely unexplored. However, in the recent past various kinds of initiatives have been taken for promoting the use of these modern technologies in agriculture. This has tremendous application both for researchers and farmers. It has reduced the time required for releasing new improved variety of crops. Various mobile based apps have been developed both by government and private sectors which can be used by farmers. These mobile based apps have helped farmers in taking decisions related to agriculture practices and these have made farm practices easier. Various computer databases, sensors and chips are also being developed in the recent past which can be used both by the agriculture scientists as well as farmers. So, digitalization has immense potential to bring a revolution in the agriculture sector.