Unique initiative : This app tells farmers when to go for sowing


New Delhi : Forget about weather SMSes or marketing tips to farmers over phone. Here’s an App-based solution that can tell farmers when to go for sowing. A new sowing app for farmers combined with a personalised village advisory dashboard for Andhra Pradesh has been developed by Microsoft India in collaboration with International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat).

Sifting massive volumes of data, this App would tell farmers in Andhra Pradesh to pick the perfect sowing week. The advice could vary from farmer to farmer and from village to village. ICRISAT expects this personalised Village Advisory Dashboard (the interface) solve an important problem faced by the small farmers.

“Implementation of advanced analytics in agriculture will help streamline and strengthen farming practices. The Sowing App and Personalized Village Advisory Dashboard are developed to provide powerful cloud-based predictive analytics to farmers with crucial information and insights. This will help reduce crop failures,” Anil Bhansali, Managing Director of Microsoft India (Research and Development), said. "This is a significant start for digital agriculture and can reap benefits in multiple ways as governments and stake holders discover the potential for technology to unlock and offer multiple solutions for farmers, "Bhansali added.

The institute used Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite including Machine Learning and Business Intelligence (BI) tools. It uploaded the data it collected from farms in 13 districts to Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. Using BI tools, the dashboard provides important insights into soil health, fertiliser recommendations, and seven days’ weather forecast in Telugu. “The Sowing Application deploys powerful artificial intelligence to interface with weather forecasting models provided by the USA-based aWhere Inc. It also factors in rainfall data collected over 45 years as well as 10 years of groundnut sowing progress data for Kurnool district,” a statement from International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) said.

The solution would analyse the data to provide predictable and usable data to farmers to pick the ideal sowing week. “Bringing a lot of scattered data together and developing an analytical tool that is comprehensive and gives accurate predictions to the farmers, is urgently needed. This is going to boost our digital agriculture initiative in a big way,” David Bergvinson, Director-General of ICRISAT, said.