In Pakistan, agriculture plays a key role in the country’s economy. It contributes 21% to the country’s GDP and employs 41% of the workforce directly or indirectly. Besides this, the sector contributes 60% of the country’s exports. Despite its major contribution to the country’s economy, the sector is facing several restraints which are hampering its overall productivity. To make the sector work efficiently, several digital solutions are considered to be impactful to increase productivity and address the major challenges faced by the agriculture sector. Computer vision is an emerging technology that can be used to increase yield and efficiency through its innovative sensing features.
Major Challenges of the Agriculture Sector
The agriculture sector is facing several challenges that are responsible for its low productivity. One of the major challenges is overpopulation. With the increasing population, urbanisation is leading to a gradual reduction in the area of cultivated land whereas the demand for effective and safe agricultural food production methods is growing. With the traditional agriculture management methods, it is becoming difficult to fulfil the production demand. However, innovative sensing and driving technologies and improved information and communication technologies can be helpful to accelerate the increase in agricultural productivity in a more accurate manner, thereby promoting the development of high-quality and high-yield agriculture.
Computer Vision in Agriculture Sector
Computer vision technology is considered an emerging solution to help address the challenges faced by the agriculture sector and increase overall productivity. Technology has become an important tool in agricultural operations and its use has greatly increased. Computer Vision is a subfield of Artificial Intelligence. Emerging technology enables machines to perceive and understand the visual world like humans. Computer vision techniques, in conjunction with image acquisition through remote cameras, enable non-contact and scalable sensing solutions in agriculture. It also helps to identify product defects and sort the product by weight, colour, size, ripeness, and many other factors. Paired with proper mechanical equipment, they can provide huge time savings and reduce time-to-market.
Considering the importance of the agriculture sector, the government of Pakistan needs to introduce AI-based digital solutions in the sector to increase its efficiency. The sector is in the early stages of the digital revolution, thus it needs extensive testing and endorsement for AI-based applications like computer vision. It will also require farmers to be equipped with training to ensure they use the technologies effectively by understanding the data and insights provided by experts. A long-term plan combined with adequate funding is also needed to introduce these technologies in the field.