Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA), IIT Bombay organized a residential training program titled 'Data-Driven Agriculture: Tool and Techniques' for the students of 'Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Krishi Vidyapeeth (VNMKV) Parbhani.' Participants of this workshop were masters and Ph.D. students from various disciplines of agriculture, including plant genetics, soil sciences, horticulture, and agriculture extension. In the era of digitalization, tapping the potential of data for solving challenges of different disciplines of agriculture is the need of the hour.
Two weeks long workshop starting from 10th December, aims to enable students with theory and tools to understand data structures, their collection and retrieval, cleaning methods, mapping, analysis, and visualization. The participants were introduced to various tools, including Excel, Power BI, Minitab, MATLAB, Python, QGIS, and many web-based tools. The modular and activity-based design of the workshop enabled easy absorption of concepts while providing hands-on experience with the tools.
Dr. Amit Arora, Professor at CTARA-IIT Bombay, organizer and lead trainer for the workshop, stated, "While discussing with the students, we understand that they are aware of the problems associated with current agriculture. Interactions also show their enthusiasm and will to work on these problems. Data is emerging as a new generation tool to help understand the problems in agriculture at a scale we have never imagined before. We need the right blend of knowledge (Shaastra) and tools (Shastra) to harness the power of data. We are trying to offer skillsets through this workshop to address that need." He designed the training session keeping in mind the student's background, their learning needs, and the utility of the tools in their academic careers.
Prof. Amit Arora, Dr. Jitendra Shah (GISE lab, IIT Bombay), Prof. Parmeshwar Udmale (Asst. Professor, IIT Bombay), Prof. Subhankar Karmakar (Department of Environmental Science Engineering Department, IIT Bombay) conducted sessions for the participants. Additionally, researchers and alums of IIT Bombay were actively engaged in the training sessions to give industrial perspectives around data and their context-specific applications in the agriculture domain.
Dr. Jitendra Shah and his team conducted two days session on Data mapping with QGIS where participants learned theory and received hands on training of data collection using Q-Field mobile application, compiling geospatial data from multiple devices and plotting it on the map.
Participants saw this workshop as an opportunity to engage with agriculture and relevant technology experts and discuss the scope, challenges, and opportunities with them.