Tech giant Google and Ag-Tech open digital platform nurture.farm have partnered a research collaboration to identify scalable and cost-effective solutions to measure soil health, covering soil organic carbon and other key nutrients in soil. Soil health is key for crop yield and productivity. But poor land practices and management, magnified by climate change, have wrecked healthy soils. To test the soil health, farmers majorly rely on chemical-based analysis where soil samples are collected and analysed in a laboratory. But, limited testing facilities, lower awareness among farmers, and the logistical and operational cost makes the approach challenging. Google and nurture.farm have outlined multiple areas of research collaboration to accelerate the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices across the country.
The partnership will empower farmers with quick, affordable, and scalable soil health measurement, helping them optimise their choices of crops, seeds, and nutrients across various seasons. Besides benefiting the farmers with a better return on investment, it will also promote practices that make farming, and our planet, more sustainable. "We look forward to our collaboration with nurture.farm, utilising Google's suite of AI and imaging technologies, Cloud, and advanced geospatial analysis and machine learning expertise to help unearth long-term solutions for sustainable agriculture," said Manish Gupta, Director, Google Research, in a statement.
"At nurture.farm, our objective is to bring advanced and innovative technology-led solutions to ease the decision-making process and improve outcomes for farmers, with a focus on smallholder farmers of India. With this collaboration with Google, we are working together to develop a scalable, real-time and cost-effective method to measure soil quality," added Pranav Tiwari, CTO, nurture.farm. The teams will focus on the use of hyperspectral image analysis combined with other remote sensing and data collection methods, to accurately measure soil organic carbon (SOC) and other nutrients in soil across a range of soil types and characteristics that comprise the landscape of agricultural practices in India. This method of soil testing will help extend soil testing services at affordable costs to farmers across India, and guide them towards ways to improve soil health, select suitable crops, input products and operating practices, resulting in higher yields and income.