The Agriculture Budget presented on Saturday has a futuristic vision to modernise farming by employing science and technology and adapting to climate change in this critical time.
While the general budget underscored the importance of AI and machine learning, the agriculture budget mentioned that Artificial Intelligence would be utilised to monitor the pest and disease infestation in crops and SMS advisories would be sent to farmers on instantaneous management measures.
Also, the Agriculture Budget vowed to adopt Internet of Things (IoT) in State seed farms and State horticultural farms for automated irrigation and fertigation to provide training to farmers on this new technology.
Senior software engineer A Parthasarathi said, "It is a wise move to utilise AI in agriculture as it will be able to predict pest attacks or weather impacts beforehand. However, it should be done effectively, and for that, all the past and present data pertaining to it should be collected, cleaned and structured. The adoption of IoT is also impressive. If the technology is spread from government farms to agriculture fields across the State, it could save human labour and pave the way for effective water use for irrigation."
C Chinnadurai, a farmer from Kallakudi, said, "During the fall armyworm attack in 2018-19, the whole maize crop in my land got affected. I lost more than `10,000 per acre. It would be great if technology like this could help us in tackling pest attacks and extreme weather conditions."
Also, the budget announced that remote sensing technology will be used to assess crop area and yield. Through this, Agricultural Marketing Intelligence Cell can forecast prices and thereby help farmers to get fair prices for their produce.
Acknowledging the impact of climate change in Tamil Nadu and citing IPCC report that 29 districts here are vulnerable, the budget says preference will be given towards increasing adaptability.
P Ravindhran, State general secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasaya Sangangalin Koottiyakkam, said "Due to climate change, farmers are highly affected as their crops get damaged in cyclones, floods, and drought. Farmers have to spend more from their pockets to revive the damaged crops. Use of fertilizer and pesticide is also more. In order to adapt to this, technology is much needed. So, we are glad the
government has focused on this."
Agriculture Minister MRK Panneerselvam said, "In order to withstand climate change, crop diversification is encouraged. Special schemes will be implemented to popularise millets and pulses as an alternative to water-intensive crops." He also announced a special fund of `5 crore for 2022-23 to contain outbreaks of
pests and diseases caused by climate change.