HomeTechIt may get easier for farmers to assess soil health

It may get easier for farmers to assess soil health

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Soil health is vital to crop yield and productivity. Today, soil quality testing is primarily done using chemicals-based analysis, wherein soil samples are collected and analysed in a laboratory. Due to limited testing facilities, lower awareness among farmers, and logistical and operational costs, this approach has been challenging to scale across India.

To address this, Google and nurture.farm (an open, digital platform for sustainable agriculture) have entered into a research collaboration to establish a scalable and low-cost method to measure soil health, covering soil organic carbon and other key nutrients. Combining Google’s advanced AI, imaging technologies and cloud infrastructure, and nurture.farm’s direct on-ground reach and engagement with millions of farmers, the collaboration seeks to enable and accelerate the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices across the country.

nurture.farm brings together at one place what every farmer needs to thrive – technology, information, services, solutions, finance, community. The nurture.farm digital platform, launched in April 2020, has onboarded over 1.5 mn farmers. The Google-nurture.farm tie-up will use hyperspectral image analysis combined with other remote sensing and data collection methods, to assess soil health across a range of soil types and scenarios. This method, once established in a scalable manner, will help extend soil testing services at affordable costs to farmers across India, and guide them towards ways to improve soil health, and select suitable crops, input products and operating practices.

Pranav Tiwari, CTO, nurture.farm said, “At nurture.farm, our objective is to create technology-led solutions to ease the decision-making process and improve outcomes for farmers, with a focus on smallholder farmers. Through this collaboration with Google, we are working to develop a scalable, real-time and cost-effective method to measure soil quality. Once developed, we will be able to provide actionable insights and advice to farmers. This will not only benefit the farmers with a better ROI, but also help promote practices that make farming, and our planet, more sustainable.”

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