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Recently, government of India has singed an MOU with Microsoft. Microsoft will set up a databank of farmers and their agricultural activities. The MOU was signed on 13th April, 2021. According to the MOU, Microsoft will have access to 50 million farmers’ data. It is called Agristack, the farmers’ databank.
It includes their personal details, crop yield, weather patters, farming technology, input costs, credit history, land holding, land titles etc. Microsoft has tied up with a local partner, CropData. Crop Data will do the ground work, collecting the data from the farmers. Is Microsoft the new agricultural adviser for farmers in India?
It is not that Microsoft is new in Indian agriculture. They are working with Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka governments. This digitisation of agriculture has already started in US and Australia. There, big corporations have swallowed small farmers. Farmers in the US are committing suicide every now and then.
Will farmers in India face the same situation? Already farmer suicide is a raging issue in India. Will digital agriculture project make things worse? Will the farmers accept digital transformation in agriculture? Are farmers ready to accept digital technology in agriculture? Will agri-business help farmers?
This digitalisation of agriculture is part of the recently passed Farm Laws. Farmers are protesting at the borders of Delhi against these Farm Laws. Then why is the government desperate to hand over Indian agriculture to foreign mega corporates? Corporatisation of agriculture means contract farming.
But contract farming has failed in Punjab. Yet, the government is not ready to listen to the farmers. Despite the countrywide farmers’ protests, the Indian government has already started implementing the farm laws through Agristack.
Watch this special report by Ratna to know the latest on digital agriculture in India, what is Agristack, Indian government’s latest move towards digitisation of agriculture, and what will be the role of corporates, and why the farmers are protesting against corporatisation of Indian agriculture.