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How the Open Access District Level Database is Helping to improve the decisions of the Agro-Input Sector?

Posted on January 15 2021 / District Level Database

“If agriculture goes wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right in the country.”

— M. S. Swaminathan (a renowned Indian geneticist and administrator, known for his active role in India's first Green Revolution.)

The backbone of any flourishing nation is its agriculture. If its growth is sidelined or underestimated then it could topple even a booming economy as M.S. Swaminathan predicts. With the long-lasting impact of COVID-19 pandemic, introducing new technology, prognosis through rich data analysis, tapping the potential of agro-informatics has become more important than ever before for the consistent growth of our agro-economy as well.

While a lot is written about the growth of agri-tech in India and its potential, for an effective execution on the field, we need to be backed by granular and real-time data that helps in charting out the bigger picture and creating a path for better processes on the ground.

According to FAO, by 2030, the global population will hit the mark of 8.5 billion people. Considering this projection, agro and related sectors will have to be prepared for that scale. Also, by understanding the increasing challenges of climate change, intricate supply chains only granular, micro and macro-level database-backed execution could sustain agriculture. Only then, scientists, key decisions makers, research students, entrepreneurs would be able to navigate a myriad of uncertainties posed by the same. Undeniably, with technology becoming synonymous to streamlined processes and progress, data will lead the next round of growth of agriculture. At the same time, the holistic development being anticipated through agro-output tremendously relies on agri-input. Therefore, introducing in-depth data analysis at the agro-input side can no longer be sidelined.

Whether it is for bringing about a policy change and technology adoption on-field or understanding the nitty-gritty of agriculture in India, data is critical to gauge rural markets across umpteen districts in India, allied sectors and their growth. To consolidate and make informed decisions from it, District Level Database (DLD) was launched by International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

Right from its establishment, DLD has been connecting data with agriculture and allied sectors in India through its open access and granular information on various categories like crops, inputs, livestock, rainfall, etc. Backed by the Tata Cornell Institute of Agriculture and Nutrition (TCI), DLD enables experimentation across research areas, identifies key districts in India, regions for promoting technology, launching pro-poor programs and also helps in assessing representative districts for micro-level.

DLD is mainly divided into two broader, comprehensive datasets. Its apportioned database is populated with information of 1966 district boundaries. Whereas, the unapportioned database has district boundaries populated till 2015.

Most importantly, DLD has levelled information across variables by seasons like crop area and production, night lights, agricultural credit, number of godowns, cold storage, disaggregated production and area data for fruits and vegetables.

Till now, DLD has served as a robust link between microdata, that is collected at a local level and macro data, that is measured pan India. Its database is consistently populated with granular data recorded across each district of India. Whether any researcher or organisation is looking for agriculture-related data for the largest district in India till the smallest district in India, they would be assisted by DLD. This makes it a comprehensive knowledge repository that researchers, policymakers, students, entrepreneurs could always rely on. It enables them to set their priorities, track inter-district, intra-district economic changes and help decision-makers for introducing impactful campaigns for agriculture in India.

While digital agriculture, agri-tech movement is slowly and steadily bringing about a change in agriculture in India, it needs strong policies, key decisions and global, local organizations to support it for the future. Through its real-time, consistently updated data, DLD has undertaken a task to bolster the same. Its contextually rich data continues to empower rural markets, initiate swift agro policy decisions and assist agro-experts across the globe in understanding the opportunity that is being offered by agriculture in India. With the impact of the pandemic and incredible shifts on ground, DLD’s extrapolation would help agro veterans in knowing India’s agro markets, field variable in a better way.

You could access DLD’s open, meticulously calibrated portal by visiting its website or for any assistance, you may write to DLD’s Senior Scientist, Mr S Nedumaran at s.nedumaran@cgiar.org as well.

At Kisangates, we have been making endeavours to build upon the aforementioned through agro-informatics. To know more about our offerings, our contribution to the growth of coveted seed companies across the globe, do visit us.