The Government of Karnataka (GoK), through its Department of Agriculture (KSDA), has embarked on a major initiative to implement multiple smart precision agricultural centres with Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division in India. The Centres of Innovation & Development in Smart Agriculture (CIDSA) will enable farmers, agriculturalists, entrepreneurs, and students of agricultural universities with future-ready agricultural skills, modern smart techniques, and leverage engineering technologies. This partnership will initiate cutting-edge technology, science, and academic research to enable more sustainable agriculture through technology transfer programs.
Hexagon’s Skill Development team helps develop and acquire new skills to deliver smart agriculture technology with state-of-the-art solutions that facilitate the full potential of agricultural assets, driving significant gains in efficiency, productivity, and sustainability. The Company’s solutions convert data into intelligent, actionable information that enables informed planning, efficient field operations, precision agriculture and machine control, and automated workflows to optimise operations. The new programs include the development of custom courses in various agriculture and automation topics, hands-on field-level engagements covering soil, weather, and local farming methodologies, “Train the Trainer” programs, and approaches for maintaining effective industry and village cooperation.
Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for over half of India’s population. India’s share of agriculture and allied sectors in gross value added (GVA) stood at 18% in FY20. However, the agricultural industry faces challenges of poor productivity, poor production management, labour shortages, inadequate infrastructure, and lack of entrepreneurship. In addition, agriculture is marked by erratic and uneven rainfall, natural calamities, high pesticide residues in crops hindering exports, and a high percentage of drought-prone areas in the country.
Many farmers lack the knowledge of agricultural technologies that are shaping agricultural businesses globally. They also lack hands-on experience in these technologies, which is critical to accelerating agricultural business growth. Skilled labour and infrastructure are also less developed because agricultural education receives less attention than other engineering streams.
Karnataka State Department of Agriculture (KSDA) has been working with Agricultural Universities and agencies to create a roadmap that will help develop the sector. KSDA and Hexagon intend to address the requirement for modern practices in agriculture with the Centres for Innovation & Development in Smart Agriculture (CIDSA). The cost of implementing this project at seven centers under four agriculture universities strategically located across the state is IN₹ 770 crores, of which Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence India, along with affiliates and partners, is contributing and investing 85% of the cost, and KSDA the remainder. The engagement with Hexagon is for a duration of three years. These Centres will train and upskill farmers, agriculturalists, entrepreneurs, students of agriculture universities, the existing workforce, and incubate agri-startups.
The labs will focus on key modernisation topics, including Smart Precision Agriculture, Automation in Agriculture, Agronomy, Farm Equipment Design & Manufacturing, Advanced Drone technology for Agriculture, Soil & Weather, Innovation & Incubation, among others.
Farmers, with support from the CIDSA network and universities, would be helped to use technology to improve quality and quantity of produce, and obtain better remuneration. They would also be able to reduce post-harvest losses and be helped to use technologies for agro-processing and utilization. Intensive skill development of students of agricultural universities and young engineers, as well as activation of entrepreneurial-led employment opportunities for the youth by becoming an interface of technology deployment with farmers is a key focus of the engagement. This is expected to increase investment in the MSME sector for agricultural technologies and allied areas, leading to better economic performance of the Karnataka State and increased employment opportunities.
The Centres will also help to make the state agricultural sector more sustainable, profitable, and competitive through engineering and technological interventions. To encourage a groundswell of innovation, these Centres will help start-ups, budding entrepreneurs, and local Medium & Small enterprises with prototyping and research and encourage renewed investment in the region.
“This initiative by Hexagon is the right push that we need to start building a smarter agricultural industry in Karnataka,” said the honorable Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr. Basavaraj Bommai.
“Agriculture is the foundation of the economy of Karnataka. This will be a transformational initiative for the agriculture, farmers and agri-industries in the State,” added the honourable Agriculture Minister, Government of Karnataka, Mr. B.C. Patil.
“I am pleased that after a thorough evaluation, we found Hexagon to have a comprehensive solution suite that covers all aspects of the industry. We are happy to partner with Hexagon to establish modern agricultural practices across the State,” stated Dr. Rajkumar Khatri, Additional Chief Secretary of Agriculture Department.
“Hexagon is always looking to work with every sector to make a smart, sustainable future. I am thrilled that we can contribute to this forward-thinking project with the Government of Karnataka and build Centers for Innovation & Development in Smart Agriculture (CIDSA),” said Sridhar Dharmarajan, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division in India. “The need of the hour is upskilling our talented resources, who are our future.”