IT industry body Nasscom on Thursday said a policy and financial support is necessary for India to realise the full potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in the agriculture sector, which still faces many challenges.

AI has the potential to play a key role in relieving the sector from most of its stressful input conditions, catalysing a shift towards data-driven farming, it said.

Several AI-led use cases, such as precision agriculture and farm management, agricultural robots, automated weeding, crop quality and readiness identification, pest prediction and prevention, livestock monitoring and management, crop yield estimation, etc can solve improving farm productivity and empower farmers in improving operational efficiency through unified supply chains and intelligent farm operations, it added.

At the unveiling of the report ‘Leveraging AI to maximise India’s farm output’ in association with Ernst & Young (EY), Nasscom President Debjani Ghosh said like The Netherlands, India can also utilise the potential of AI technologies in the agriculture sector.

“The Netherlands is a stellar example of effective AI adoption in agriculture. With just a small arable land the country has become the world’s 2nd largest exporter of agricultural products by value leveraging technology and AI,” Ghosh said in a statement.

For India to realise the full potential of AI, a coalition of government, industries, and start-ups in providing necessary infrastructure and policy support, enabling AI innovation across sectors, and mentoring and providing financial support to startups are imperative, Ghosh added.

Citing a survey conducted to gauge where Agri enterprises are in the AI journey, Nasscom said findings showed that with ‘Trust in AI’ as the key lynchpin, revenue growth, innovation and farmer/end-customer experience are priority areas.

Additionally, companies are looking at a dedicated AI strategy and budget as a key imperative to scale AI initiatives enterprise-wide post-COVID-19, it said.

Currently, several AI-led start-ups are developing innovative AI-led solutions, targeting specific challenges in the value chain. Precision farming, crop disease management and produce sorting and grading are top focus areas for start-ups.

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