SKUAST-K, CDAC Kolkata join hands for R&D in digital agriculture

Srinagar: SK University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir (SKUAST-K) a leading farm university in the region and Centre of Development for Advanced Computing Kolkata (CDAC-K), the premier R&D organisation, established to develop supercomputers, by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) came together to discuss the possibility of collaboration in the emerging areas of digital and precision agriculture and to build collaborative projects between two institutions. At a meeting held in virtual mode, SKUAST-K team comprised Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, Vice Chancellor SKUAST-K, Dr Imran Khan, Associate Professor Statistics. Prof Azmat Alam Khan, OSD to Vice Chancellor, Dr Shabir Ahmad Mir, Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Mr Muneer Shigan, Senior Computer Programmer while CDAC K team comprised Sr. Director CDAC K, Mr. Debasis Mazumdar. Associate Director and Group Head Asok Bandyopadhyay, Joint Director, Smt. Barnali Pal, and Principal Technical Officer Shri Sangam Kumar Chaturvedi. The meeting was held in the backdrop of Digital Agriculture initiative of Govt, of J&K.
Vice Chancellor Professor Nazir Ahmad Ganai, while highlighting the initiatives already taken up at SKUAST-K with respect to use of ICT, IoTs in the field of Agriculture and allied sectors expressed the need to have applications in ICT domain using AI/ML, Image processing and pattern recognition, Big Data, GIS etc and to build infrastructure for data (soil/crop/weather data) capture, store and its analytics with the active participation of start-up companies and user agencies.
SKUAST-K also desired to put in place IoT based irrigation/fertigation, nutrient management, crop health and post-harvest management for optimum inputs and maximum yield. Centre-Head along with Group Head ICT&S, CDAC-K agreed to establish an agricultural data centre at SKUAST-K for digital enablement. CDAC-K highlighted the use AI and ML for efficient monitoring of agricultural activities such as crop nutritional requirement, health condition of crop, best time to application of sprays and fruit picking etc. It was decided to submit collaborative projects to all the potential funding agencies in the identified areas.
Two institutions also agreed to start the postgraduate programme in a sandwich mode where members from CDAC-K can be part of SKUAST-K students’ research advisory committee and students would do some part of his/her research work at CDAC Kolkata.
Besides both the organizations agreed to work on: Collaboration in the field of applied statistics/ Big data/AI and ML; Faculty Development Programmes and students training; RFPs in the area of AI, mobile apps for farmers, crop monitoring/management and, forecasting in real time; Data analytics system for saffron industries; and Digital Data collection on various agricultural activities, livestock and renewable sources.
Both the organizations decided to work on preparing the MoU document with the suggestion to start collaboration at the earliest defining the immediate milestones followed by long-term targets.

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