Digital Green: Empowering Smallholder Farmers to Leverage Technology that Increases Output and Profitability

  Krishnan Pallassana,   Country Director - India

Krishnan Pallassana

Country Director - India

The projection anticipates that the global market for agriculture technology as a service will grow at a CAGR of 24.42% and reach $3,031.1 million by 2026. The concept of smart agriculture seeks to offer the agricultural sector the facilities it requires to take advantage of cutting-edge agricultural technologies. Utilizing the cumulative strength of technology and community based alliances, Digital Green is a global not for-profit organization that empowers small-scale farmers to create prosperous communities by leveraging the power of technology and grassroots level partnerships. MIT alumnus Rikin Gandhi founded Digital Green with the mission of addressing systemic developmental issues facing small holder farmers who steward our land, and run our food systems but are often in poverty. As a consequence of discussions with farmers in Karnataka, a simple video-based approach to inform and educate farmers on farm and farming practices was designed to promote behaviour change on ground so that farmers could adopt best practices to help improve their livelihoods. Since then, Digital Green has established a foothold across nine countries throughout Asia and Africa. Furthermore, the Indian Institute of Science, Platform Commons, and other technological thought leaders like Societal Platform serve as alternate sources of guidance for the organisation.

On a Mission to Offer the Best
A considerable portion of the 500 million small-scale farmers all over the globe remains impoverished out of which, one fourth of the smallholder farmer population is in India. Environmental change has rendered them much more vulnerable. They are essential to maintaining progress and improvements in their standard of living means of subsistence, and revenue and can have a cumulative impact on the community. Leveraging advanced technologies, Digital Green is addressing the pain points of including input costs, increasing productivity and income, and risk mitigation that increases their resilience.

“We leverage the power of technology and grassroots level partnerships to bring solutions to farmers to improve productivity, income, and resilience. We work closely with governments, be it the Ministry of Agriculture in Ethiopia or India’s Rural Livelihood Missions and Department of Agriculture in different states,” says Krishnan Pallassana, Country Director-India, Digital Green. Within India, Digital Green has established a presence in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and recently in Rajasthan.
Community Videos is one innovative solution in which videos are produced by the community for the community. These video based advisories follow criteria set by government partners at different levels and other knowledge and implementation partners. By offering farmers, especially women farmers, access to information and services and enhancing their authority, Digital Green empowers and equips them with the choice to make informed decisions. “Smiles across the faces of women farmers in India and the greater autonomy the women in Ethiopia are receiving because of work is what keeps us going,” adds Krishnan Pallassana. The extensive network of technical institutions, assets, and workforce that already operates in India can potentially act as a catalyst for digital transformation at the grassroots level, which necessitates that the staff has the tools and knowledge required to comprehend the numerous facets of digital agriculture. This method is being implemented in various countries by agriculture departments and livelihood missions.

We leverage the power of technology and grassroots level partnerships to bring solutions to farmers to improve productivity income and resilience

Another solution is Kisan Diary Enterprise(KDE) an easy-to-use input and output consolidation technology for farmer organizations that collect data on individual farmers and makes it available to the leadership through a dashboard. They can then forecast input demand and surplus commodity availability in doing so engaging in informative prior negotiations with vendors and clients. Digital Green is also pioneering a new opensource solution that serves the agricultural ecosystem as a free framework for sharing data. This solution includes a consent management system that enables farmers to own information sharing options and have agency over their data. FarmStack offers data accessibility, safe data exchange and governance processes using regulatory standards.

In order to address the unique expectations and demands of farmers and the agricultural communities, a broad assortment of development systems and equipment, including cloud-based applications, are deployed. The use of data and data analytics is essential for developing new products and services. The organization collaborates with other technological organizations for things like AI and blockchain. “Technology is not the end. It is only a means to accelerate sustainable development outcomes,” further adds Krishnan Pallassana.

Future Roadmap
Digital Green is creating solutions that are important for last mile connectivity to fulfill the needs of the farmers. Giving farmers more access to and control over data that could enable them to make better decisions and increase their productivity and profitability is one of the organization's primary priorities. Another goal is to increase choice through guidance, invest in bolstering the underlying resources and capacities of farmer organizations, and lastly, keep funding FarmStack. Digital Green has already helped approximately 3.2 million farmers improve their resilience, and it will continue to spur change for years to come.