Mitigating Climate Risks through Agro-Geointelligence

As a food-deficient country in the 1960s, the adoption of technology and mechanization characterized the “Green Revolution” that propelled India to be one of the leading agricultural nations in the world. As India strives to sustain its food self-sufficiency in the 21st century, Indian agriculture is now faced with newer problems that are related to sustainability, efficiency, and inequality.

India’s agricultural sector faces unprecedented challenges some old, some new and others that are evolving. Climate change is one such challenge that is dynamic and rapidly evolving. The impacts of climate change are already being felt in Indian agriculture due to increasing temperatures and extreme weather events. These are leaving an irreversible impact on the agroecosystems.

While on the other side reducing crop yields, deteriorating nutritional quality, and lowering livestock productivity pose a threat to the nation’s food security. Transboundary agrarian touchpoints spread across diverse disciplines make it a formidable task to strike the right balance for “producing more and better with less” in such circumstances and call for a smart approach that can mitigate climate risks by mapping a common ground.

Climate Smart Agriculture

Climate change impacts us globally—what happens in one location happens everywhere. These environmental crises come in many forms, from declining air quality to rising sea levels, diminishing biodiversity, and shifting populations. Conventional agricultural practices and traditional knowledge that most Indian farmers rely upon are rapidly losing relevance. The developing situation calls for a transformational change in agricultural practices that are smart and climate-friendly while being sustainable and resilient. And there is no better alternative to geospatial technologies to accomplish this.

Understanding the evolving dynamic situations becomes paramount for mitigating, preparing, and responding to these situations. And for this data, information and knowledge are critical. As digital agriculture initiatives make their way into the ecosystem, stakeholders are challenged with contextualized climate-related information and their localized impacts at the right time for informed decisions. By connecting data and science in the context of space and time, the need for “agro-geointelligence” in a language understood by all, becomes paramount for informed decisions and sustainable actions.

Agro-Geointelligence for Mitigating Climate Risks

The inability of the current information systems to contextualize, embrace complexity and facilitate stakeholder convergence has been creating hurdles in addressing transboundary multi-disciplinary challenges and risks associated with climate change and global warming. And unless all the data touchpoints are brought together on a common platform for deeper contextualization and participative management and collaboration, it is a herculean task to understand the dynamics including linkages and dependencies. Given the dynamic nature and associated complexities of climate change, the need for agro-geointelligence becomes more than ever. 

Bridging the Gap Between Data and Science

As we transition into a digital future, decision-making at every strategic and operational step needs to be supported with evidence that is based on accurate data and backed with scientific rigour. Digital agriculture initiatives call for innovative approaches and technologies that not only address the challenges but also are self-learning (healing), able to analyze and reproduce insights and can be tailored to geographies and situations. Bridging the gap between data and science, geospatial technologies provide evidence in the form of maps, analytics, dashboards, and reports, so that their interventions and investments towards a) Anticipating risk b) Preparing to adjust c) Sharing and Learning are inclusive and sustainable.

Plan, Prepare and Respond

Contextualized agricultural intelligence will determine how governments and businesses can plan, prepare, mitigate, and respond to climate change risks. And for quickly transforming data from diverse sources into knowledge – rapid enterprise deployment, data management, mapping and visualization, analysis, and discovery become critical.

Connecting diverse data sources on a unified platform from multiple sources/systems (Centre, State, and others), stakeholders can rapidly harness actionable agro-geointelligence at different levels (Regional, national, and local) through a GIS platform for planning, operations and decision making, leveraging comprehensive, accurate, and accessible information that is tailored to their geographies.

Understanding Future Scenarios

Using spatial science to transform data into action, agro-geointelligence helps stakeholders to understand patterns, relationships, anomalies, and incidents in massive amounts of spatial data. Out-of-the-box spatial analytics tools, machine learning algorithms, and artificial intelligence techniques for modelling and predictive analysis arm with advanced information on the emerging situations comprehensively, thereby helping us with an accurate assessment of the likely impact of the disasters, their geographic spread, hot spots, priority areas, appropriateness, and efficacies of interventions. Spatially simulated models provide decision-makers with interactive tools for understanding the physical systems and judging how actions on the ground can affect the overall agroecosystems.

Collective Problem Solving

Given the dynamic nature and diversity of the processes associated with climate change, no single agency can capture all the required data touchpoints or solve the problems. Larger participation and involvement of communities becomes inevitable and so does collective problem-solving. Revolutionizing open access to authoritative information through multiple mediums, geospatial hubs foster collaboration and sharing of information and knowledge.

And for democratizing this information and expanding its participative reach to remote corners of the country, mobile GIS tools complement the geospatial infrastructure. Empowering all stakeholders equally to participate and contribute while leveraging agro-geointelligence for decision support at ground level.

Esri India’s Vision for Climate-Smart Agriculture 

At Esri India, our priority and focus have always been to support our customers with a commitment to science, sustainability, and positive change. For over five decades, Esri has been committed to the conservation of our planet and invested in solutions that help protect it and advocate for its care. Esri’s goal is to create a sustainable future. We believe that technology and modern analytical tools help build climate action plans.

Continuing Esri India’s legacy of inspiring and enabling organizations to positively impact our future through a deeper, geographic understanding of the changing world around us, Esri India conceptualized and developed made in India “Indo ArcGIS” that reflects this philosophy. Playing a central role in bringing together all the agrarian touch points in the Indian context on a unified platform through a common visual language of maps, Indo ArcGIS provides comprehensive agro-geointelligence.

By enabling the geographic approach and mapping as a fundamental language, Indo ArcGIS acts as a catalyst for creating understanding, exploring alternatives, collaborating to find solutions, and achieving consensus on complex agricultural issues we are confronted with. Available on dedicated India Cloud (Approved by MEITY and “Make in India’ public procurement guidelines compliant) with Ready-to-Use solution templates, base maps and data layers, GPU-enabled cloud infrastructure enables you to harness Indo ArcGIS Pro capabilities giving you higher utilization at a lower total cost of ownership.

In Closing

In Jack Dangermond’s words, “As the effects of climate change accelerate and intensify, it is more important than ever for leaders to take a geographic approach to this fundamentally global issue. It is part of our mission to contribute to their ability to meet the challenges of sustainability with the best technological resources.”  Amid unprecedented challenges Indian agriculture faces, climate change is the cause for concern with its potential impact on food security shortly.

Climate change is here to stay and as the call for “producing more and better with less” gets louder, the time is ripe for a “digital revolution” that is characterized by geointelligence. This will set the stage for Indian agriculture to become a global leader while mitigating climate risks. Geospatial technologies will play a deciding role in how we effectively and efficiently address these and what we leave for future generations.  

Author: Article by Esri India

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