A positive movement to garner scientific community & technologists to support doubling farmer income by making them self-reliant.
Rotary in collaboration with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser Government of India. We at Rotary are keen on launching a challenge to the technologists of premier National institutes and their incubated startups related to Atmospheric Water Generating System Challenge (AWG)
To improve productivity per unit area, greater emphasis on high throughput, precision phenotyping in research breeding programs is required. The importance of technologies like drone-based image capture, mounted photographic equipment that are movable cannot be overstated.
Solutions that combine image capture techniques (either drone-based or otherwise) with software applications to interpret and give outputs in a suitable format will be very useful in high throughput precision phenotyping. And this has applications across all crops that are being researched upon by public institutions and private organizations. Phenotypic traits like plant height, flowering time, image based disease/pest damage diagnosis, population count, leaf area, etc will be some of the inputs that will help breeders develop better varieties. These can be either in the form of service or as technology/toolkit product(s).
One of the major time consuming activities in an R&D program is collection of yield data across multiple crops – field crops like paddy, maize, cotton, pearl millet, mustard and vegetable crops like tomato, chilli and okra. Since the harvest has to be done in hundreds or thousands of plots, small scale solutions that can make this step more efficient will be required in order to have timely decisions for data-based decisions.
Solutions that facilitate harvesting the yield from crops mentioned above from small plots (single row, two rows, 6 rows, 10 rows etc) without much non-yield plant matter will make data-driven decisions precise and timely. For instance, for cotton, there have been a few manual pickers in the past. All of them failed to deliver what is required by researchers. If solutions focused on a single crop or related crops for harvesting the yield are developed, they will be of very high value. This can also be combined with efficient dryers that can dry the produce to a required moisture content, the entire data collection process can be completed in a shorter period of time.
To improve productivity of seed per unit area, greater emphasis on periodic weather data, disease and pest prediction, plant health data, flowering time of male and female parent plots in hybrid seed production plots and yield estimates are required.
During adverse weather conditions as well as situations like the current pandemic, having access to all above information can help ensure production of sufficient seeds to support agricultural operations of the country.
Any combination of technologies that can provide insights on weather conditions, factors that can impact plant health and accurate capture of flowering time will alert producers to put appropriate interventions in place to ensure that plant health is maintained. Accurate prediction of yield will also be important to ensure that knowledge on seed sufficiency can be obtained before the following sowing season starts for the crop of interest. These are applicable to all crops for which seed production is undertaken, especially by the private sector.