In these times of asymmetric development, unsustainable nature resource use, and continued urban and rural poverty, demands from the agricultural sector are mounting. Farmers are expected to produce more, and produce sustainably. Distributors are expected to minimize storage and transportation inefficiencies. And contractors and consumers are expected to retail and consume responsibly. How can every cog in this ecosystem begin an efficiency and sustainability revolution amidst all the challenges?

Increasing demand and slowing production

Over the last century, global population has quadrupled. In 1915, there were 1.8 billion people in the world. As of April 15, 2017 the world population is estimated at 7.5 billion. The United Nations expects us to be a world of more than 9.7 billion people by 2050. This growth, along with the rising incomes in developing nations, is driving an increase in global food demand which is expected to increase by 59% -98% by 2050. This will shape agricultural markets in ways we have not seen before.

Shrinking arable land and scant labor resources

Rapid urbanization is leading to massive pollution and erosion, which is resulting in loss of arable land, even as food demands continue to rise. A study conducted last year calculated that nearly 33% of the world’s adequate or high-quality food-producing land has been lost at a rate that far outstrips the pace of natural processes to replace diminished soil. Also, more and more labor is moving to white and blue collar jobs, leading to scant resources in the agricultural industry.

Limited fresh water

It’s a fact well established that many, if not most, of the Earth’s aquifers are in trouble. That is what a group of NASA scientists, who published their study of global groundwater in 2015, also found out. Water levels in 21 of the world’s 37 largest known aquifers, they report, are trending negative. The water table is dropping all over the world. This will have major implications for the agricultural sector.

Finding the Real Problem

Even as we face macro challenges like urbanization and climate change, which we cannot directly control, a stark reality stands out. That of post-harvest losses. According to the World Food Program, nearly one-third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted and over half of that food waste happens during production, post-harvest handling, and storage. It all starts with the farmer. Is there a way to empower the farmer to take better decisions everyday - right from planting to water management and harvest planning -- and in turn empower the entire ecosystem to reduce post-harvest losses? Turns out, there is!


Infosys created a platform that helps stakeholders across the ecosystem make better, more informed decisions. Infosys Digital Agriculture Solution was born out of an idea to put more food on our tables! IDEAS, as we call it, is a framework that triggers timely interventions that address challenges of stakeholders across the agricultural value chain. The solution integrates domain expertise, market intelligence, Internet of Things and big data analytics to enable insights and speed decision-making for individual farmers as well as agricultural enterprises of various sizes.

IDEAS offers sensor integration for real-time data, weather data integration, sensor triggered irrigation systems, and drones with imaging capabilities for real-time data gathering. The algorithm then processes all this data, couples it with domain competencies, and provides insights on:

  • Crop and variety recommendation
  • Crop nutrient recommendation
  • Real-time remote irrigation management
  • Identification of crop stress and recommendations
  • Insights for field representatives
  • Sustainability assessment
  • Warehouse management

The Outcomes

  • Increased profitability from selection of the most suitable crop variety for the given area and tuning the process for greater efficiency.
  • Reduced costs of cultivation from personalization of fertilizer recommendations with a combination of low cost fertilizers and optimized application schedule.
  • Optimization of crop water usage thereby growing more with less. Remote operations to save time and efforts.
  • Reduced yield loss from timely intervention to resolve crop stress, recommendation of most suitable chemicals, and optimization of chemical usage.
  • Effective control of post-harvest losses during storage thereby reducing financial losses for procurement companies.