Agriculture (farming) – accounting for 24% of our GDP – is the biggest contributor to Pakistan’s economy. Ever since we emerged on the map, agriculture has undoubtedly been kind to us, but the question is – are we kind to it?
As the world around us makes astronomical leaps in the fields of technology and science, it is high time we start catching up.
Precision farming is the new face of agriculture, and it’s already being used at a national level in many countries. Not only is it pertinent for economic progress, but precision farming also mitigates the repercussions of climate change.
What Really is Precision Farming?
Precision farming is a revolutionary IT-based agriculture management system. In essence, the purpose of precision farming is to use technological means in order to maximize profit, ensure sustainability, improve the overall yield, and protect the environment.
This set of farming techniques allows one to apply reliable (scientific) principles and methods to identify, manage, and analyze all the aspects associated with an agricultural system. This in turn is envisioned to minimize the farming cost and maximize the profit. Precision farming uses the following fundamental tools in order to deliver what it promises.
- Geographic Information System (GIS)
- Global Positional Systems (GPS)
- Remote Sensing (Hyper spectral imagery, aerial photography, radiometrics, etc.)
- Proximal Sensors
- Yield Monitors
There are two main ways of using precision farming, namely map-based predictive approach and real-time reactive approach.
Considering we are only at the elementary stage of agricultural technology, the latter is too complicated to be successfully implemented in Pakistan. However, a predictive approach is a viable and promising option.
Let’s delve into how these methods may be brought into practice, and what would that mean for our country ultimately.
Precision Farming and Pakistan’s Agriculture
The agriculture industry is adopting advanced tools in order to increase the efficiency of their farms. Agricultural drones have become an effective approach to cut costs in the farming world.
All relevant experts – scientists, farmers, engineers, you name it – have agreed that drones are a robust and effective approach in optimizing and streamlining farming operations.
Drones are used to monitor crops in order to make accurate plans and necessary improvements. Traditional methods demand lots of labor and consume loads of time.
Agriculture drones can image slopes, elevations, plateaus, inaccessible areas and use powerful data analytics to determine the best seeding areas. They are also widely used for aerial seeding.
It is predicted that the drone market is worth about 32.4 billion US dollars. The overall precision farming market is predicted to be worth 43.4 billion USD by 2025.
Precision Farming is the Way Forward
Pakistan needs to adopt agriculture drones as well and benefit from this possibility. Currently, Punjab government allows the use of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for the following purposes.
- Applying pesticides on farms
- Monitoring pests, nutritional problems, and weeds
- Surveying the land
So, drones in addition to several other aforementioned techniques are the building blocks of a brighter, better agricultural future.
A few prestigious universities of our country (NUST, IST, UOK) have already started offering undergraduate programs in Geographic Information Systems.
If we want to truly harness the potential benefits of agriculture, we must start by first acknowledging our lack of advanced infrastructure, and then take steps towards developing precision farming in Pakistan.
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