Millennium Post

IBM spots a Rs 5,000-cr opportunity in agritech

Mumbai: Global IT major IBM is looking at technological inputs for the farm sector to be a Rs 5,000-crore opportunity in the next five years, according to a senior official.

"IBM sees a Rs 5,000-crore opportunity from agritech in India over the next five years," Himanshu Goyal, India sales and alliances leader, The Weather Company, which is an IBM division, said here.

The revenue will come from providing both business services and advisory for the entire agriculture ecosystem or agriculture value chain on weather data, big data, the Internet of things, blockchain, analytics and artificial intelligence services, he said.

The Weather Company, which is a unit of the IBM, recently tied up with the NITI Aayog for piloting certain solutions for the farm sector using technological interventions, Goyal said, adding his company already works with 70 startups engaged in the agritech sector.

Without divulging any numbers, Goyal said agriculture contributes a sizeable part of the revenue for The Weather Company in the country at present.

It can be noted that around 60 per cent of the countrys over 1.3 billion population depends on agricultural or allied activities, but contributes only about 15 per cent to GDP, resulting in government introducing a slew of targeted programmes for the sector.

The government is targeting to double the farmer income by 2022.

hrough its partners, the company is reaching out to up to 35 lakh farmers in the country now.

At present, there are only 6,000 developers devoted to the agricultural sector in the country, which is only 1 per cent of the overall number of developers, he said.

The company is investing in course-ware and other content with live projects to help over 100 educational bodies, including universities and institutes devoted to engineering and management, to upgrade the agritech skills, Goyal said.

He said the project with Niti Aayog involves developing crop-yield prediction model using artificial intelligence to provide real-time advisories to farmers in backward districts.

The company covers 15 agrarian states and has developed "models" for most of the key crops, he concluded.

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