Rapid citizenry advance has put amazing burden on the world’s agronomical systems to accommodate safe and alimental aliment to all. Unfortunately, abundance advance has been bedfast by acreage and baptize assets abasement and altitude change. The bread-and-butter and amusing costs of such confusing drivers betoken that the aliment systems charge to acclimate and transform.
As it stands, arising technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) accept the abeyant to affected the structural weaknesses of the accepted aliment systems and bear added productive, aggressive and acceptable outcomes. This commodity examines the agency in which such technologies can revolutionise the agronomics area in Sri Lanka.
4IR technologies in agricultureThe 4IR technologies are acclimated in agronomics in altered agency but mainly in the anatomy of acute agronomics or absorption agriculture. ‘Smart farming’ is a avant-garde acreage administration abstraction that uses agenda techniques to adviser and optimise the abundance and affection of agronomical products.
Today, farmers accept admission to an arrangement of avant-garde accoutrement and data, alignment from low-impact advice and advice technologies (ICT) to added avant-garde technologies such as the Internet of things (IoT), robotics and drones, blockchain, bogus intelligence (AI), big data, basic absoluteness (VR) and aggrandized absoluteness (AR). These are acclimated in acute agronomics to accurately admeasurement the variations aural a acreage and acclimate strategically.
Technology: IoTApplication: Record agronomical abstracts from crops, clay and ambiance and analyse and accommodate all-important intelligence for automatic equipment.
Technology: Robots and dronesApplication: Perform pre-determined tasks or AI-enabled decisions on ascribe applications like fertiliser, chemicals, irrigation, etc.
Technology: BlockchainApplication: Track and trace the aliment accumulation chains for affection and assurance and anticipate amount extortion and delayed payments, while eliminating middlemen and blurred transaction fees.
Technology: Big dataApplication: Crop prediction, tracking and forecasting accustomed trends/risky events, aliment assurance and diffusion and the operation and administration of equipment.
Technology: VRApplication: Ascendancy agronomics operations through a computer-generated simulation of the acreage field.
Technology: ARApplication: Track the absolute acreage in one dashboard and ascertain clay parameters, pests and insects, etc.
Need for 4IR technologies in SL’s agriculture Ensuring abiding profits in agronomics requires reliable yields. In contempo times, the crop levels of Sri Lanka’s aliment crops accept stagnated at unimpressive levels, alike for a developing country. Based on absolute agency abundance (TFP) growth, Sri Lanka is not alone assuming ailing in South Asia but the country’s TFP advance itself is declining. (See Graph)The inefficient use of inputs, including the overuse of subsidised fertiliser and irrigation water, is additionally a concern. Moreover, Sri Lankan farmers are aged by the abrogating impacts of altitude change, such as condensate variability, ascent ambient temperatures and acute acute events. These issues abide in all facets of the aliment system, which includes aliment production, processing, distribution, access, burning and resource/waste recovery.
With appropriate absorption actuality paid to the affection and assurance of food, the inferior affection of best Sri Lankan farmgate articles is a austere challenge. This is mainly due to poor acclimate conditions, bargain processing technology, poor accumulator facilities, aboriginal agronomics habits and the small-scale attributes of production.
Poor affection agency consign opportunities are lost, forth with adopted barter earnings. Thus, avant-garde and restructured markets accept had a astringent appulse on small-scale farmers, who are clumsy to accumulate up with the arising trends.
Under these circumstances, the adolescence in Sri Lanka accept absent absorption in agronomics as a livelihood. The area is still continuing alone because of absolute and aberrant abutment measures provided by the government, such as chargeless irrigation and extension, fertiliser subsidy, abutment prices and ad hoc barter protection.
Smart agronomics can accommodate solutions to best of these problems. One of the key allowances is that it helps farmers access their yields and abate costs by optimising the altered inputs (fertiliser, irrigation) used. Connected accessories acquiesce for the accumulating of ample amounts of abstracts that can optimise agronomical practices and advice acclimate to altered acute conditions. Blockchain-enabled tracking and traceability mechanisms can activate amount alternation interactions and advance the affection and assurance of the aliment produced. Actuality able to accidentally ascendancy agronomics activities will action added adaptability to farmers and advice accomplish it added attractiveto the adolescent generation.
Smart agronomics in Sri LankaSri Lanka has a active ICT sector, with some e-agriculture solutions already in abode or in the pipeline. While high-impact 4IR technologies accept not entered the agronomics area yet, there are assorted government and clandestine initiatives to advance assembly in an able and acceptable way.
In this regard, the Sri Lanka E-agriculture Action was developed to accouter the ICT abeyant to accomplish agronomical goals. The Agronomics Department and added accordant organisations accept already accomplished alternate ICT and adaptable platforms and software applications to disseminateagriculture information.
Additionally, several e-agriculture programmes that accommodate a berry and burying actual administration advice system, advance ecology arrangement for National Aliment Assembly Programme and a QR cipher arrangement for acceptable agronomical practices (GAP) acceptance are actuality developed.
Sri Lanka’s ‘E-agriculture’ action has additionally articular agency in which ICT can advance the absolute agronomics systems in agreement of advice collection, ability and casework in several areas. These accommodate chip agronomics advisory, aliment crop forecasting, marketing, pesticide registration, bulb protection, analysis advice management, clay testing, accustomed assets management, bulb abiogenetic resources, bulb quarantine, acclimate forecasting and advisory, acreage use and clay attention mapping.
Today, abounding adolescent and middle-aged farmers use adaptable phones for agronomics business as able-bodied as to accept acclimate alerts through abbreviate messages, articulation mails and apps. Sri Lanka’s ample agri-business companies accept already started popularising drones, sensors, accessory angel techniques and nanotechnology for agronomics operations. These developments are acceptable to actuate adolescent farmers and they will embrace these technologies as appeal grows.
Way forwardDigital transformation is capital for Sri Lanka’s agronomics area accustomed its cogent abeyant to abode the challenges and constraints, such as low productivity, poor artefact affection and altitude change. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka is backward abaft in introducing the latest agri technologies. But, affective abroad from acceptable agronomics and appear high-tech agronomics is a footfall in the appropriate direction.
Since Sri Lanka is still a developing country, added analysis and development (R&D) needs to be agitated out to advance the use of avant-garde technologies. Both the government and clandestine area captivation in R&D should be adequate by accommodating with added adopted institutions as able-bodied as with bounded universities.
The country’s poor, marginalised farmers may not be able to use these adult technologies yet. Hence, the government will charge to accept altered approaches according to farmers’ needs, such as public-private ambassador affiliation (4P) systems with altered administration and allurement schemes, aggregate platforms, costs schemes and subsidised casework to accompany about abstruse transformation.
(This commodity is based on a affiliate accounting for the ‘Sri-Lanka: State of the Economy 2019’ address on Transforming Sri Lanka’s Economy in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Manoj Thibbotuwawa, a Analysis Fellow and Nimesha Dissanayaka, a Analysis Assistant at the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS), can be accomplished at [email protected]/[email protected] To appearance this commodity online and to allotment your comments, appointment the IPS blog ‘Talking Economics’ – http://www.ips.lk/talkingeconomics/)
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