Seeds, Pesticides and Mechanization – HYV, Indian Seed Congress, etc.

[op-ed snap] Making crop insurance work for Indian farmers

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | e-technology in the aid of farmers

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)

Mains level: Use of ICT in agriculture and allied activities


Context

Crop damage by changing weather

  1. In recent months, several places in north India experienced unseasonal dust and thunderstorms, followed by unseasonal rains
  2. This has cost lives and led to extensive crop damage
  3. With freak weather events becoming more common, protection of farmers against these risks figures prominently in the government’s agricultural policy

Agriculture sector impact

  1. Mitigating risk in the agricultural sector has a direct implication for agricultural productivity and farmer welfare
  2. It also intersects with some of the key sustainable development goals (SDGs), such as ending poverty, achieving food security and curbing hunger

Using technology in agriculture

  1. The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) has funded a number of studies that explore the feasibility of using ICTs in the field of agricultural risk mitigation
  2. A 3ie-funded study conducted by researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute demonstrates how to capitalize on the availability of low-cost internet and the rising use of smartphones
  3. The novel picture-based insurance (PBI) product welds technology with weather index based insurance (WBI)
  4. Farmers are asked to take pictures from the same site with the same view frame two to three times a week throughout the cropping season. The series of images thus created helps insurance agencies examine the condition of the crops
  5. Based on the assessment, payments for losses are directly issued to the farmers’ bank accounts
  6. Additionally, the application also provides customized agricultural advisory to farmers by experts, ensuring continual interaction
  7. Another study by the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS) examines the PMFBY in Karnataka, which incorporates the use of mobile technology to record and upload the crop-cutting experiments (CCE), a mechanism to determine the overall yield of the village
  8. The use of ICT is expected to quicken compilation of data, verification and faster settlement of a claim

Other benefits of ICT

  1. The use of mobile-based technology can also help allied activities
  2. ICTs can address not only supply side and process-related bottlenecks but also influence behaviour change on the demand side
  3.  For example, ICTs such as the PBI that require farmers to participate may induce farmers to develop a vigilant attitude towards any loss of crop
  4. Formative and process evaluations of ICT-based programmes, usually done at the beginning of a programme spanning over a few months, can help policymakers take prompt programme-specific decisions
  5. By identifying various challenges, such evaluations can lead to better programme selection and design that are cost-effective

Way Forward

  1. Impact evaluations that are based on counterfactuals with a large sample size, and conducted over a longer period, can surely inform scaling up and replicability of such programmes
  2. And in turn, the resultant socioeconomic impact will help farmers across India
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