TIRUCHY: The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in banana cultivation has proven to be a game-changer, with scientists at ICAR-NRCB (National Research Centre for Banana) emphasizing its transformative impact on pest management, global marketing, and much more during the institute’s 30th foundation day and Kisan mela program.
Dr. R Selvarajan, Director of ICAR-NRCB, highlighted the institute’s focus on global research and its responsibility as Asia’s largest gene bank for bananas. Remarkably, over the past year, ICAR-NRCB has developed an impressive 60 technologies, introducing six new banana varieties and publishing over 1000 research articles. The institute has even exported bananas to countries as far as Italy and Europe.
The recent acquisition of two patents for AI-based disease detection and suspension of Basel seeds by ICAR-NRCB demonstrates their commitment to leveraging technological advancements. Additionally, the institute has been tirelessly working on gene editing techniques to combat fusarium wilt, a viral disease that has been plaguing the banana industry.
During the event, as the Chief Guest, Dr. V. Palanimuthu, Director of the National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Management (NIFTEM-T), Thanjavur, underscored the importance of government policies in post-harvest technology and value addition to boost farmers’ income. Drawing from his expertise, V Venkatasubramanian, Director of ICAR-Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute, Bengaluru, emphasized the critical aspects of quantity, quality, continuity, and cost-effectiveness in agricultural production.
However, bridging the gap between technology and farmers remains a challenge. Dr. K Alagusundaram, MD & CEO of the Tamil Nadu Food Processing & Agri Export Promotion Corporation, acknowledged the hesitancy of many farmers, particularly small and marginal ones, in adopting AI and IoT-based technologies due to cost concerns. To resolve this, he proposed the establishment of more custom hiring centers, facilitating the accessibility of these technologies. Dr. Alagusundaram also highlighted AI-based solutions such as the “Falcon Drone” used in the United States to deter birds and reduce pesticide usage.
The event concluded with the presentation of 14 awards recognizing the remarkable achievements of various stakeholders, including Best Banana Farmers, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), Technology Dissemination, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Entrepreneurs, and Technical Staff. With approximately 1000 participants from across the state in attendance, the event showcased the growing interest and potential of AI in revolutionizing banana cultivation.
Q: How has AI revolutionized banana cultivation?
AI has offered innovative solutions for pest management, disease detection, and global marketing, thereby enhancing the overall productivity and profitability of banana cultivation. Through AI-based technologies like disease detection systems and gene editing techniques, researchers have been able to combat diseases that previously threatened the banana industry.
Q: What are the challenges in adopting AI in agriculture?
While AI has proven beneficial in advancing agricultural practices, farmers, particularly small and marginal ones, face challenges in adopting these technologies due to cost concerns. The high upfront investment required for AI-based systems can deter farmers from embracing this transformative technology.
Q: What are the potential benefits of AI in banana cultivation?
AI can improve pest management, disease detection, and crop quality, ultimately leading to increased yield and profitability for banana farmers. Additionally, AI can enable global marketing, expanding opportunities for banana export and creating new revenue streams for farmers.
Q: How can the adoption of AI be facilitated for farmers?
To promote the adoption of AI in agriculture, it is crucial to establish more custom hiring centers, which will allow farmers to access AI-based technologies without the burden of high upfront costs. Furthermore, government support and incentives can play a significant role in encouraging farmers to embrace AI and its potential benefits.