Microsoft, Icrisat develop new sowing app for farmers using Al and Azure cloud
A new sowing app for farmers combined with a personalised village advisory dashboard for Andhra Pradesh has been developed by Microsoft India in collaboration with International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (Icrisat).
The sowing app advises farmers on the best time to sow crops depending on weather conditions, soil and other indicators.
Icrisat has adopted Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite including Machine Learning and Power BI or Business Intelligence, to empower farmers and government officials with technology, and promote digital farming practices in the state.
According to Microsoft India (R&D) Private Limited managing director Anil Bhansali, the sowing app and personalised village advisory dashboard are developed to provide powerful cloud-based predictive analytics to empower farmers with crucial information and insights to help reduce crop failures and increase yield, in turn, reducing stress and generating better income.
"This is a significant start for digital agriculture and can reap benefits in multiple ways as governments and stake holders discover the potential for technology to unlock and offer multiple solutions for farmers, "Bhansali said.
This has been made possible through a partnership between the Icrisat, Microsoft and the Andhra Pradesh government.
"Bringing a lot of scattered data together and developing an analytical tool that is comprehensive and gives accurate predictions to the farmers, is urgently needed. We are excited to work with Microsoft to enhance incomes and improve the lives of small holder farmers, and this is going to boost our digital agriculture initiative in a big way," said David Bergvinson, director general of Icrisat.
The personalised village advisory dashboard has been especially developed to enable officials of Andhra Pradesh Primary Sector Mission (APPSM) - Rythu Kosam, to better manage programs of scale.
The sowing app utilises powerful artificial intelligence to interface with weather forecasting models provided by US based aWhere Inc. and extensive data including rainfall over the last 45 years as well as 10 years of groundnut sowing progress data for Kurnool district. This data is then downscaled to build predictability and guide farmers to pick the ideal sowing week.
Similarly, the Personalised Village Advisory Dashboard developed by Microsoft provides an instant overview across several environmental factors that determine a healthy crop yield. In the pilot that has been recently launched, information will be sent to farmers about the sowing date via SMS in Telugu.
Data collected manually from farms in 13 districts of the state by Icrisat field officers for Rythu Kosam has been uploaded to Microsoft's Azure Cloud. Using powerful Business Intelligence (BI) tools, this dashboard provides important insights around soil health, fertilizer recommendations, and seven days' weather forecast.
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