Farming

Telecom operator Vi (Vodafone Idea) is making headlines, owing to its significant strides in transforming agriculture across rural India.

Through its ‘SmartAgri’ program, Vi is harnessing the power of smart technologies such as IoT sensors, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud services, and drone technology to enhance rural incomes and boost farm productivity.

Launched initially in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in FY 2019-20, the SmartAgri project has now expanded its reach to cover 12 states in India. These states include Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, and Telangana.

The program encompasses a diverse range of crops, including soybean, cotton, tea, mustard, sugarcane, and more with the primary goal to develop and implement innovative solutions that increase overall productivity and reduce input costs for farmers.

P Balaji, Chief Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Officer at Vi, emphasizes the transformative impact of technology on agriculture stating that they’re driving a new green revolution that is transforming agricultural practices, empowering farmers, and boosting farmland productivity.

Reportedly, more than eight lakh small-marginal farmers have already benefited from the SmartAgri program and Vi’s commitment to empowering farmers is evident in the tangible impact on their incomes.

According to Balaji, there has been a remarkable 70% increase in farmer incomes, varying depending on the type of crop. Simultaneously, the program has achieved a commendable 23% reduction in input costs.

The heart of the SmartAgri initiative lies in its focus on transforming traditional agricultural practices into more intelligent and efficient ones through the integration of modern technology solutions. Farmers are equipped with IoT sensors that provide real-time data on various factors such as soil and air quality, weather forecasts, wind strength and direction, insect and pest presence, and the stage of crop growth and readiness.

To further support farmers, Vi’s program has established a virtual ecosystem that brings together agricultural experts, scientists, field practitioners, and corporates on a single platform, allowing farmers to receive personalized advice based on data-driven insights as well as fostering a community that collectively addresses challenges such as unpredictable weather patterns and over-dependence on pesticides.