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Day 33 – Q 4.How can robotics be a game changer for agriculture? Discuss.

4. How can robotics be a game changer for agriculture? Discuss.  

रोबोटिक्स कृषि के लिए गेम चेंजर कैसे हो सकता है? चर्चा करें।


Agriculture is quickly becoming an exciting high-tech industry, advancing the production capabilities of farmers. The robotics technology coupled with digital mechanization possesses potential in bringing positive transformation across agricultural landscape globally and especially in India in the backdrop of challenges like lack of favourable terms of trade, vagaries of monsoon, sluggish technology adaptation, productivity per yield etc.


How can robotics be a game changer?

  • Precision Agriculture:  Weed control using robotics and machine learning, to pinpoint the application of fertilizers and herbicide. Field tests have reported using only 10 percent of the herbicide needed in the past. The concept can be reversed to precisely apply fertilizer to only desired plants, thereby reducing waste while optimizing yields.
  • Solution to lack of labour: Robotics for agricultural activities like fruit picking, harvesting etc. For example: Large scale Orange harvesting with agricultural robots in France and USA. Example: Virgo, the robotic harvesting system.( Source-Google)

  • Full field capacity work: The robots do not get sick or tired and they do not need the time off, they offer fewer errors at higher speeds, and the higher quality products can be sensed by the machines accurately.
  • Safety of famers and consumers: The robots can protect the human workers from the harmful effects of handling the chemicals by hand and through the system of high spraying, and they can reduce up to 80% of a farms use of pesticides, avoiding contamination.
  • High productivity:  Robotics mechanism closely mimics the human method of farming, but at a much higher productivity level. Increase in farmers’ income per yield and reduction in all round costs are observed.
  • Enables alternate employment and additional source of income: Due to robotic farming, lot of time is saved for the farmers, and they can engage in alternate occupations, thus earning additional income.
  • Other applications: Nursery planting, crop analysis, animal husbandry, dairy farming, drone service, harsh terrain resilient farming etc.

Need for robotics in Indian agriculture:

  • Growth: According to NITI Aayog’s report, Agriculture and allied sector is critical to India’s growth story and to achieve and maintain an annual growth rate of 8 –10% for the Indian economy, agriculture sector must grow 4% or higher rate. Adopting technological strategies seems to be the way forward.
  • Enhance productivity: The sector suffers from poor resource utilisation, with the production quantum and productivity still being quite low. For example, yield of cereals, comprising a major share of food grain production, in terms of magnitude is significantly lower than that of China and the USA. Technology adoption and efficient resource usage like robotics, AI, Digital mapping etc in these two countries are far higher, thus resulting in higher yields.
  • Economic strengthening: According to CB Insights, agricultural tech start-ups in India have raised over USD800million in the last 5 years to bring AI and robotics to agriculture and are helping solve pressing issues across the agriculture value chain which is valued to be at USD2.6 billion by 2025.
  • Reduced costs: Agri-bots being used in several regions in India which tend to crops, harvesting, weeding etc can reduce fertilizer cost up to 90% and eliminate human labour.
  • Attracting youth: Robotics in agriculture can succeed in bringing and retaining the youth population of our country.


  • The capital-intensive nature of Robotics.
  • High cost of procuring imported hardware components as well as training personnel.
  • Unavailability of skilled labour and sluggish adaptation of technology:  Most of Indian agriculture is carried out in the rural dominated regions which entail difficulty in convincing the farmers to trust the technology over traditional farming.     
  • Repair and maintenance becomes an issue, especially in India, where reach of AI knowledge has not penetrated across the country.
  • Loss of various traditional, yet effectively resilient methods suitable for Indian agriculture.
  • Substitution of technology may put farmers out of their jobs and render difficulties to the already suffering state of unemployment.

Examples of Robotics in Indian Agriculture: (These are for your information)

  • PAAMA Agrico under Made-in-India Agri-Equipments has designed the world-class soil titling blades used in rotovators and cultivators. It enables a Robot to weld blades enabling the precision function – ensuring uniformity in production while facilitating repeatability function each time.
  • GRoboMac: The working of this robot has been designed in such a way that the computerized vision detects and locates the precise 3D coordinates of the bloomed cotton from the images of the cotton plant. A robotic arm uses these coordinates to pick the cotton and the arm, then uses a vacuum for precision picking of cotton and avoids picking any other contaminant. 


Technological advancements in agriculture are an important element to fodder growth and engaging in robotics is an indispensible technique of driving this. NITI Aayog’s Statement of Intent (SoI) to develop and deploy AI to provide real-time advisory to farmers in Aspirational districts is laudable at this juncture and should be extended across the length and breadth of the country.

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