The government is aiming to create a federated National Farmers Database using digitised land records that will help to offer proactive and personalised services to farmers, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed Parliament on Tuesday.
The agriculture ministry has already commenced the work of creating ‘Agristack’ — a digital ecosystem of agriculture — in the country that should help the government in effective planning towards increasing the income of farmers in particular and improving the efficiency of the agriculture sector as a whole.
“As a first step in this direction, the government has already initiated building federated farmers’ database that would serve as the core of the envisaged Agristack,” Tomar said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
No private sector companies are involved as far as the building of the Agristack is concerned. However, leading Technology/Agri-tech/startup companies were identified and invited to collaborate with the central government to develop proof of concepts (PoCs) based on small portions of data from the federated Farmers’ database for certain identified areas (district/village), he added.
The MoUs — purely on a pro bono basis with selected companies — are being signed for one year to develop PoCs.
PoCs will help in understanding solutions that can be built using available data and some of them, if found beneficial to the farmers will be scaled up at the national level.
Further, Tomar said the government would ensure the data privacy of the farmers’ personal details.
“As of now, the federated farmers’ database is being built by taking the publicly available data existing with the ministry and in various data silos in government and linking them with the digitised land records,” he said.
The agriculture ministry in consultation with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is in the process of bringing out a data policy for the agriculture sector, he noted.
Asserting that the aim of the proposed initiative is to increase farmers’ income by leveraging the available data and developing solutions based on the data, the minister said if states have already built such a system, then, the endeavour will be to make use of the same and build on top of that.
“Yes, the Government aims to create a federated National Farmers Database and the digitized land records will be used as data attributes for creating this database,” Tomar said.
The proposed database will ensure input costs are reduced, ease of farming is ensured, quality is improved and farmers get better prices for their farm produce, he added.
To bring dynamism to the farmer’s database, the minister said the linkage with the digital land record management system is essential.
The database is envisaged to facilitate online single sign-on facilities for universal access and usher in proactive and personalised services to farmers such as direct benefit transfer, soil and plant health advisories, weather advisories, irrigation facilities, seamless credit and insurance facilities, seeds, fertilisers, pesticide-related information nearby logistic facilities, market access information, peer to peer lending of farm equipment etc.
Asked if landless farmers will be included in the proposed database, Tomar said, “At present, farmers’ database will include the farmers, who are legal owners of the agricultural land as per the government database and as endorsed by the state government”.
In future, the possibility of including others may be considered in consultation with state governments and other stakeholders, he added.
Asked if the database will be used for choosing beneficiaries of the government schemes, Tomar said once developed, a federated national farmer database will help to deliver personalised and proactive services to farmers.
“Government can make use of the database for targeted service delivery with higher efficiency and in a focussed and time-bound manner,” he added.