Smart agriculture and beyond
Smart agriculture is essential in tackling many of smallholders problems with their cultivations and for their development. Smart agriculture is an approach that helps to guide actions needed to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support development and ensure food security.
Agriculture sector accounts for more than half of total employment in South Asia, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The Punjab province in Pakistan has 5.2 million farming families and 28 million acres of cultivable land spanning over 23,000 villages. Given the enourmous extension of its territory and arable land, smart agriculture becomes essential in managing and providing information to smallholder farmers.
A new project commisioned by Punjab’s Agriculture Department aims to provide a toll-free number for farmers to call in the case of a pest attack in their farm. At the other end of the line an expert picks up the call and can immediately access from his tablet information on the farmer, including his education level, the size of his farm, the cropping history and the soil characteristics of the farm. Another project initiated by the Agriculture Department is an e-credit service available through smartphones given to the farmers, in order for the farmers to gain access to credit more easily. However there are some problems, such as the digital literacy of rural people, which has to be dealt with before the implementation of such projects.
Source: The Express Tribune