The 28th edition of the series of agricultural presentations had a guest. Balraj, a farmer from Punjab spoke about the impact that deploying a sensor to detect moisture in the atmosphere has made in their irrigation practices. His village doesn’t have electricity and they use diesel-run pumps. Deploying this sensor saved both diesel, and water (which he quantified as 15-20 hours of running the pump). The sensor was able to detect moisture in the lower layers of the soil. He observed an improvement in crop yield and soil health. This sensor is a product of an agritech startup – CultYvate incubated at NSRCEL, IIM Bengaluru.
One of the biggest challenges, for agriculture technology start-ups, is reaching out to the farmers, FPOs, and Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) – their end-users. Kisanmitr was conceptualized and has been successful in linking the Supply with the Demand side. The start-ups can support the farmers through the KVKs and the farmers can find solutions to some of their challenges.
The series of agricultural presentations by technology developers across the Indian research Institutes and their incubated start-ups have helped showcase around 150 agricultural technologies across different themes, farm management, post-harvest management, allied agriculture, etc. These have been garnered under the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India. The presentations are made primarily for the demand members (Industry and Incubators) to evaluate the technologies and to stitch the supply side and Demand side of agriculture through technology.
Speaking at the 28th edition on 3rd July 2021, Dr. A. K. Singh, Deputy Director-General, (Agricultural Extension) ICAR pointed out that KisanMitr is helping meet the PM’s vision of developing technology solutions for farmers problems. He congratulated the Office of PSA, Indian CST, NSRCEL-IIMB for facilitating the process of making technology and innovations that are developed in research laboratories across the country reach farmers across the country. Applauding the organization of vernacular sessions of these webinars, he also hoped that the upcoming webinars will bring together more farmers to talk about their problems, and what technology solutions they need. He opined that “one farmer will help train many more farmers. So, if we train one with technology, they will help transfer knowledge too.” Dr. Singh called out to the KVKs to be flag bearers and help reach these solutions to reach the farmer by organizing a viewing session in KVK offices for farmers for demonstration of technologies. Seventy-five KVKs have, till now, partnered for this outreach.
KisanMitr or ‘Friends of the Farmers’, is an initiative of the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India. This project aims to make Indian farmers more self-reliant by giving them insights and recommendations based on information from various data sources from different departments of the Government.
The Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) work towards the mandate of “Technology Assessment and Demonstration for its Application and Capacity Development.” These kendras (centres) are a part of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS), which aims at the assessment of location specific technology modules in agriculture and allied enterprises, through technology assessment, refinement, and demonstrations. KVKs have been functioning as Knowledge and Resource Centre of agricultural technology supporting initiatives of public, private, and voluntary sectors for improving the agricultural economy of the district and are linking the NARS with extension system and farmers.
About Indian CST:
The Office of PSA engaged the services of the Indian Centre for Social Transformation (Indian CST) (www.indiancst.in), a Registered Public Trust who developed and are maintaining https://epashuhaat.gov.in for the Ministry of Animal Husbandry Dairying and Fisheries for the (then) Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare since 26.11.2016. Indian CST has contributed its GPMS Transportal for building the KISANMITR portal on the lines of e-pashuhaat.
With programs specifically catering to entrepreneurs with profit ventures and social ventures, also student and women entrepreneurs, IIMB’s NSRCEL offers its support to various players of the startup ecosystem. NSRCEL brings together startups, industry mentors, eminent academicians from its parent institution Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, and researchers who thrive on continuous interaction of theory and practice.
Picture Credits: KisanMitr