The University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) is gearing up to start "School of Smart Agriculture" soon at its campus in Dehradun, Uttarkhand Deependra Kumar Jha, Vice-Chancellor, UPES told BusinessLine that futuristic education in agriculture would need undivided focus and commitment, both from teaching and learning perspective. And UPES is uniquely positioned to focus on convergence of advanced technologies such as IoT, AI, Big Data, unmanned aerial vehicles and GPS with existing agricultural practices to create a new offering. "Use of technology in agriculture has become an imperative to improve crop productivity in an environmentally sustainable manner. And this would be the focus at the proposed school as UPES already has expertise and runs courses in all these technologies via its School of Computer Studies and School of Engineering. This expertise and infrastructure would be suitably leveraged for application in agricultural studies, he said. The school will initially offer BSc (Hons) in Agriculture, BTech (Food Technology) and MSc (Agri-Agronomy). Jha said "the world food demand is expected to double by 2050 and it is estimated that with business as usual, in the face of declining resources, intensifying volatilities of climate change and markets, only 59 percent of India's total demand for food and agricultural products would be met by 2030.
So where is the investment money going? Robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) for the most part: technology is getting to a stage where we can turns farms into data-driven ecosystems and get maximum returns from resources. Consider that the intensive farming in the tiny Netherlands has made the Dutch the biggest exporters of food in Europe and you get n idea of the lucrative value that tech firms are trying to unlock for farms.
High-tech devices in agriculture such as unmanned aerial vehicles and sensors are leading to immense growth in data collection and deployment, and a Houston conference Aug. 20-21 will feature scholars and industry experts discussing future applications in all aspects of production agriculture. The invitation-only conference, Identifying Obstacles to Applying Big Data in Agriculture, will be held at the Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. It is sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture. "We have had advanced technologies like GPS in agriculture for over 20 years, but only a small handful of these technologies have made a significant impact," said Dr. Alex Thomasson, conference coordinator and Texas A&M AgriLife Research engineer in College Station. "We want to cast a vision for the practical use of big data in production agriculture so we can take advantage of the current wave of attendant technologies like the so-called Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, wireless communications, the cloud, etc. "This conference will feature discussion with key business leaders and academics involved in a broad range of disciplines within big data and precision agriculture.