Big data can aid small farmers, say experts

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Big data analytics, which is transforming many sectors, can have a telling impact on the agricultural sector too, to the benefit of small and marginal farmers, but reliable data bases relating to agriculture should be built up in the country, according to experts in the field.

They were speaking here on Thursday at a session on ‘Harnessing big data for small farmers’ at the AgTech Summit 2017.

‘Unreliable data’

Ravishankar Mantha, CEO of Agrisk Data Analytics, said, “Data bases relating to agriculture in many States are not reliable. Data is collected through archaic methods. There are a few exceptions, like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, but on the whole, the situation is not encouraging. Big data analytics has the solutions but first, we must have reliable data, and then only can we reach correct conclusions.”

Kunal Prasad, Chief Operating Officer of Cropin Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd, said his company had built up digital platforms being made use of companies like ITC and others and insurance companies in particular were making use of solutions for speedy farm insurance claim settlements.

He said agri insurance premiums were on the higher side in the country and they could be brought down by making use of big data analytics. “Big data analytics is particularly useful in assessing crop loss in the event of natural calamities,” he added.


Parmesh Shah, Global Lead for Rural Livelihoods and Agricultural Jobs, World Bank, said huge amounts of data was being generated in the agricultural sector, as in other sectors, and therefore, “big data analytics is absolutely essential to avoid data paralysis. However, there are many challenges in making use of it at the field level.”

Frederic Pivetta, Managing Partner of Dalberg Data Insights, and Prateep Basu, the Chief Operating Officer of SatSure Analytics India Pvt Ltd, also spoke.

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