No private companies involved in Agristack: Govt

No private sector companies are involved as far as building of the Agristack is concerned, however, leading technology/Agri-tech/startup companies were identified and invited to collaborate with the government of India to develop proof of concepts (PoC) based on small portions of data from the farmers’ database for certain identified areas (districts/villages), the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

“A public call through the department’s website has been placed inviting proposals for PoCs. MoUs purely on pro bono basis with selected companies are being signed for a period of one year to develop the PoCs. The PoCs will help in understanding the solutions that can be built using the available data and some of them, if found beneficial to the farmers, will be scaled up at the national level,” Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, said in a statement in reply to a question raised by Lok Sabha member Jayadev Galla.

The department has commenced the work for creating Agristack in the country and is in the process of finalising the “India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture (IDEA)”, which will lay down a framework for Agristack, Tomar said.

Accordingly, a task force has been constituted and in furtherance a concept paper on IDEA has already been floated for comments from the general public, not only through the department’s website, but also through emails, especially to the subject matter specialists, agro-industry, farmers, and farmer producer organisations (FPOs).

“The IDEA would help in laying down the architecture for the Agristack in the country and that would serve as a foundation to build innovative agri-focused solutions leveraging the emerging technologies to contribute effectively in creating a better ecosystem for agriculture in India,” Tomar said.

This ecosystem shall help the government in effective planning towards increasing the income of the farmers in particular, and improving the efficiency of the agriculture sector as a whole.

As a first step in this direction, the government has already initiated building federated farmers’ database that would serve as the core of the envisaged Agristack, Tomar said.

“There is no connection between the MoUs and the IDEA consultation paper for which comments have been sought from various stakeholders in the country,” the government claimed.

Details of the MoUs entered by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare with leading technology/agri-tech/startup companies to develop PoCs are as follows:

1. Microsoft India Pvt Ltd — for consolidating agri ecosystem across the value chain (farm to fork) to empower the farmer using data analytics. In this regard, 100 villages have been selected and a pilot is being carried out by Microsoft and its local partner.

2. ESRI India Technologies Limited — for establishment and launch of “Nation Agriculture Geo Hub” and for using their ‘ArcGIS’ platform enabling a GIS layer over farmers’ database.

3. Amazon Web Services India — for digital services across the agri value chain and creating an innovation ecosystem around digital agriculture.

4. Star Agribazaar Technology Private limited — for collaborating with the Department of Agriculture for a pilot project in three districts — Kota in Rajasthan, Mathura in Uttar Pradesh and Guna in Madhya Pradesh — to promote digital agriculture.

5. Patanjali Organic Research Institute Private Limited — for farm management and farmers service in three districts — Haridwar in Uttarakhand, Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh and Morena in Madhya Pradesh.