A team of PARI researchers from the Hans Ruthenberg-Institute of Agricultural Science in the Tropics from the University of Hohenheim traveled to India to learn about the current stage of digital applications for livestock farming in India. While there is a consensus that digital agriculture has the potential to transform agriculture, little is known on what is happening on the ground in developing countries. In particular, little is known about digital agriculture in livestock farming.
The team met with different developers and users of digital tools, conducted field visits, interacted with farmers and service providers (artificial insemination technicians, extension agents) and discussed potential collaboration opportunities. For example, the team visited farmers using the software FARMTREE, which helps them to manage their herd, focusing on fertility management and economics. The team also discussed with dairy companies, which use digital tools to collect animal data (in order to improve fertility management and breeding) and better supervise extension staff.
The trip suggests that a market for digital tools for dairy farms has emerged in India comprising different type of software developers (ranging from start-up companies, researchers to government actors) targeting both small and large farmers as well as dairy companies and cooperatives. The field trip was the first step towards conducting more PARI research on the opportunities and challenges of ICT applications for livestock, focusing on India and Kenya.