Agri Business

Centre inks MoUs with Microsoft, Amazon, Patanjali for farm data project

Our Bureau Mangaluru | Updated on July 25, 2021

PoCs will help in understanding solutions that can be built using available data   -

Firms to develop ‘proof of concept’ to check feasibilty

The Centre has signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with five firms, including Microsoft India Pvt Ltd, Amazon Web Services, Star AgriBazaar and Patanjali Organic Research Institute, to develop proof of concept (PoC) or evidence that a pilot project is feasible for creating a digital ecosystem for agriculture in the country.

Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar told the Rajya Sabha on Friday that these companies had been invited by the Centre to develop PoC based on the federated farm database. The PoCs will help in understanding solutions that can be built using available data. Some of them, if found beneficial to the farmers, will be scaled up at national level.

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“There is no connection between the MoUs and the IDEA (India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture) consultation paper for which comments were sought from various stakeholders in the country,” he said.

Big plans

The Centre had also issued proposal inviting proposals for the MoUs on its website and these companies will work pro bono for one year, Tomar said.

With Microsoft India Pvt Ltd, the government has entered into an MoU for consolidating agri ecosystem across the value chain (farm-to-fork) and empower farmers using data analytics.

ESRI India Technologies Ltd has entered into MoU for establishment and launch of ‘Nation Agriculture Geo Hub’. Amazon Web Services India’s MoU is for digital services across the agri-value chain and creating an innovation ecosystem around digital agriculture.

With Star Agribazaar Technology Pvt Ltd, the pact is for collaborating with the Department of Agriculture for a pilot project in three States to promote digital agriculture. “Patanjali Organic Research Institute Pvt Ltd has inked the MoU to provide farm management and farmers service in three districts,” the minister said.

As of now, the federated farmers’ database is being built by taking the publicly available data as existing in various data silos in the government and linking them with the digitised land records.

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“No private data of the farmers is shared with any private organisation,” he said, adding that the Agriculture Department, in consultation with the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, is in the process of bringing out a data policy for the agriculture sector. “Once developed and implemented, the services will be available for all the farmers across the country,” he said.

Stressing that the private sector companies are not involved in building the Agristack, Tomas said they were not involved in building the Agristack.

Finalising IDEA

Stating that the work has been commenced for creating Agristack in the country, he said the department is in the process of finalising IDEA (India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture), which will lay down a framework for Agristack. Accordingly, a task force has been constituted, and in furtherance, a concept paper on IDEA has been prepared and comments were invited from subject experts, farmers, farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and the public.

Once finalised, this can serve as a foundation to build innovative agri-focussed solutions leveraging technologies to contribute effectively towards increasing the income of farmers and improve farm efficiency and efficiency of the agriculture sector in the country with an overall goal of doubling of farmers’ incomes. The federated farmers’ database, which is being built by the agriculture department, would serve as the core of the Agristack once completed, he said.

Farmers’ protests

To another query on the loss to the government due to farmers’ protests, the Minister said agitation led to the inconvenience to the public because of road blockage and other agitation activities. Also, deployment of police personnel for law and order arrangements lead to government expenditure.

He said the implementation of the farm laws would have led to enhanced income of farmers and enhanced investment at village level due to investment in post-harvest management infrastructure, logistics, value addition, storage units, etc. However, he said the loss cannot be quantified due to above mentioned and other related activities.

The government has been engaged in active discussions with the farmers’ unions to resolve the issues. So far, 11 rounds of negotiation talks were held between the government and agitating farmers’ unions to resolve the issues.

During various rounds of discussions, the government continuously requested the farmers’ unions to discuss the provisions of the farm laws, so that if there is an objection to any provision, the advancement can be made towards resolution of those. He said the farmers’ unions insisted only on the repeal of the farm laws.

Published on July 23, 2021

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