Digital transformation way forward for agri sector

ISLAMABAD: The agriculture sector needs to adopt digital technologies to increase the yields and contribute more to the overall economy, said Dr Nur Ullah, Senior Scientific Officer at National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC).
The agricultural landscape of the country would change as a result of technology and innovation, enabling farmers to become more knowledgeable and competitive, said Dr Nur.
“Digital transformation in the agriculture sector can help farmers increase their income through better crop production,” he said.
Dr Nur said not much attention was paid to the digitalisation of agriculture in Pakistan. However, if this technology receives the necessary attention, it can deliver great results.
“Digital transformation can help farmers with weather forecasts. In this new data-based agronomy sector, monitoring accurate weather conditions is one of the most crucial things farmers can do for their fields since it enables them to better address frequent difficulties and optimise their labour, crop health, and water usage. The program will also forecast rain, so if there is a chance of unusual rainfall, farmers will already know how long they will persist and when they will begin,” he said.
“It can also help us manage the temperature,” he added. Therefore, he said, we need digital transformation technology, which will inform us in advance about temperature extremes and help us control the damage, i.e., we can take remedial measures in advance.
“These things are only achievable if we carefully systematise data at the extremes, i.e., the low extreme and high extreme, so that the computer can detect intermediate data automatically and direct us,” he added.
Dr Nur explained that once a database is created, it will be used to predict how things will turn out in the future.
“This method, also known as a remote system, is operating quite well in other countries. However, it has not yet been formally implemented in Pakistan. Experiments have only been conducted at the university level,” he said.
Also, some farmers have independently created models based on digital transformation using remote sensing on a small scale.
“The government should support digital transformation, assist farmers in resolving their problems, and engage with engineering institutes to develop this system. There should be a separate system for each crop to cope with these problems by getting advice from crop experts on production technique and temperature, or by getting area-wise or province-wise information and noting that data. For example, a separate system or software can be developed that is specifically designed for tomatoes which can help in their growth,” he further explained.
“This technology should be developed by the IT industry to improve our agricultural system. We have skilled manpower in the IT sector to create really good software to manage this system,” he suggested.