NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL HIGHER EDUCATION PROJECT (NAHEP) has been formulated by Indian Agricultural Research Institute with a total cost of Rupees 1100 crores (US$ 165 million) for five years starting from 2017-18. The project is proposed on 50:50 cost sharing basis between the World Bank and the Government of India, implemented at the Education Division, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. So that a holistic model can be developed to raise the standard of current agricultural education system that provides more jobs and is entrepreneurship oriented and on par with the global agriculture education standards. The mandate of Indian Agricultural Research Institute/DARE includes promotion and coordination of education in agriculture, agro-forestry, animal husbandry, fisheries, home science and allied sciences in the country. Indian Agricultural Research Institute is now embarking upon an ambitious step in further strengthening the National Agricultural.
NAHEP-CAAST-VNMKV Center has been formulated by VNMKV with a total cost of Rupees 17.88 Crore at the exchange rate of Rs. 64.75 = 1US$ for three years starting from 2019-20 to 2022-23. The project is proposed on 50:50 cost sharing basis between the World Bank and the Government of India, implemented at VNMKV. Overall, the project aims to establish an advanced basic engineering hardware and software setup such as Mechatronics, CAD/CAM/CAE, 3-D Printers and Instrumentation Laboratories for Agribots, Agri-drones and Agri-AGVs., so that a holistic model can be developed to raise the standard of current agricultural education system that provides more jobs and is entrepreneurship oriented and on par with the global agriculture education standards. NAHEP-CAAST-VNMKV is now embarking upon an ambitious step in further strengthening the digital farming solutions for enhancing productivity by robots, drones, and AGV’s; with financial assistance of the World Bank and ICAR investing on infrastructure, competency and commitment of faculty and attracting talented students to agriculture.
As per NAHEP objectives following sub objectives are proposed related to CDKS.
- To establish the laboratories related to Agri bots, Agri drones and Agri AGVs application in CDKS, such as GIS, Remote sensing and modelling software’s in computational lab for climate based digital support centre.
- To involve PG/ Ph. D. (Agri. Engineering, Agronomy and Soil Science etc.) students in project work, elective courses and certificate courses related to CDKS.
- To develop case studies, internet of things (IoT), Apps and software tools related to CDKS.
- To conduct training programmes (one week/ two week) related to CDKS.
- To developArtificial Intelligence in Agriculture digital tools, equipment’s for students, faculty, farmers and entrepreneurs.
- To establish national / international level collaborative work/ MOU with IIT Kharagpur, IIT Bombay and Overseas universities.
Climate change is one of the most extreme challenges Indian agriculture is facing today and will have to deal with in future. There have been overwhelming and growing scientific evidences to establish that the world is getting warmer due to climate change and such increasing weather variability and worsening extremes will impact the agriculture sector more and more adversely.
Water scarcity in the nation is further aggravating the problem and posing numerous challenges for farmers to carry on agricultural practices smoothly. At this time, when the country is already struggling to provide clean drinking water to its people, how will it arrange water for agriculture to produce food for the growing population? The need of the hour is technology-driven agricultural solutions that can ‘produce more with less.’
In order to fulfill the burgeoning demands of food and water by the existing population, and to deploy resources for upcoming generations, many technological advancements are taking place in the agricultural sector. These advancements have been able to release stress from our existing lands, as well as the farmers.
The use of technology in agriculture is not very new. Farming is a highly labor-intensive job, and in order to increase farm efficiency, manage costs, and increase the production of crops, farmers are encouraged to learn the use of technology and adopt it in daily agricultural practices. Some examples include: Sustainable agricultural practices using high-performance tools and equipment; vertical farming; use of AI (Artificial Intelligence); block chain technology; use of drones; and more.
One such technological advancement that is doing wonders in the field of agriculture is precision agriculture. Also known as satellite farming, or site-specific crop management (SSCM), precision agriculture is growing in India, driven by the country’s worst water crisis and the need to substantially increase food production.
Precision agriculture is a new way of managing farms, which encompasses observing, measuring and responding to field variability in crops. It is a decision support system (DSS) for managing a farm with the intent of optimizing returns on inputs, and at the same time preserving resources. In simple words, precision agriculture is a farming technique that makes the growing of crops and raising livestock, more accurate and controlled.
This modern-day agricultural practice makes use of information technology and a wide array of equipment such as GPS guidance, sensors, drones, bees, control systems, robotics, autonomous vehicles and hardware, variable rate technology, GPS-based soil sampling, telematics, and software.
While precision agriculture was started with the aim to increase crop efficiency and ensure profitability, it is also taking sustainability into account by protecting the environment. This has been achieved through big data gathered by technology, which is guiding the present and empowering the future decisions related to farming. It gives precise information on when to grow a crop, the best time to sow seeds, the best time to apply fertilizers or chemicals etc. The core principles of precision agriculture have been around for more than 25 years, but it’s only over the past decade that they have become so popular, thanks to technology!
Furthermore, the adoption of mobile devices, increase in IoT, falling prices of sensors, drones and computer chips, access to high-speed internet, low cost and reliable satellites used for positioning and imagery, and inter-connected farm equipment are some of the key technologies, contributing to the increasing trend of precision agriculture. It has also been suggested by some experts that more than 50% of farmers today are using at least one precision farming practice.
Activities planned under CDKS:
- Weed management: Pre emergence weed control by using Agri Drones for different crops.
- Grafting Robots: Sugarcane planting by using grafting robots.
- App Development: Different apps development for technologies developed by VNMKV.
- Use Sensors: Use of advanced sensors for nutrient management, water management
- Precision agriculture technology: Development of ICT tools for precision agriculture technology.
- Surveying and mapping using Drones: Agriculture field survey and mapping using drones.
- Crop health monitoring: Using remote sensing, GIS and drones crop health monitoring.
List of courses:
Following are the elective courses selected for NAHEP-VNMKV Certificate courses with interdisciplinary faculty involvement and enhancement of skills in handling advanced digital devices such as Agribots, Agri-Drones and Agri-AGVs for productivity enhancement.
1 Geo-Informatics in Agri-Drone Navigation
2 Groundwater Digitization by Geospatial Techniques
3 Internet of Things in Precision Agriculture
- Climate Resilient technologies in Dryland Farming for enhancing productivity through digitization
- Geo-Informatics for climate smart Agriculture
- Digitization in Soil, Water and Plant Analysis
- Decision Support System (DSS) by using geospatial techniques