Three industrial revolutions in the history of human civilization have changed the course of the world. The first industrial revolution took place with the invention of the steam engine. Then the invention of electricity and the internet increased the speed of the industrial revolution several times.
However, the fourth industrial revolution started at the present time has surpassed the previous three revolutions. With this, there is a fight going on all over the world now. The way experts say, so far our way of life, our work, our way of thinking has started to change. Now we are going through a technological change. The digital revolution, which began on the basis of the Second and Third Industrial Revolutions, is changing everything at a mathematical rate, which has never happened before.
Most importantly, this change is affecting every sector of every country in the world, which is changing the production process, management everything. Changes in the information technology sector around the world through smartphones, the Internet of Things, the application of artificial intelligence in equipment management, robotics, biotechnology, quantum computing have started the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are now being added to the world’s newest agricultural machinery. We are noticing the most advanced agricultural machinery in the world. As can be seen, robotics technology is now being introduced in most of agricultural machinery. One wonders how much human labor can be reduced in the manufacturing sector. At the same time, modern information technology is being used effectively to facilitate production efficiency, conversion efficiency, and marketing. The biggest success in the agricultural mechanization of Bangladesh has come from inland cultivation.
95 percent of the plow is being used for land cultivation. Similarly, 95 percent of threshing machines or threshers and 95 percent of power pumps are being used for threshing paddy. Mechanization in other areas of agriculture is slow. 1.5 percent in the harvest and less than 0.5 percent in planting. However, the rate of use of agricultural machinery is increasing day by day. As a result, crop production has increased at a significant rate. Similarly, the agricultural machinery manufacturers of our country are working to combine IoT and artificial intelligence with the manufactured machinery. Apart from imports, domestic manufacturers are also meeting 20 percent of the demand for agricultural machinery in Bangladesh.
There are 70 fowls, 2,000 agricultural machinery and parts manufacturing factories, and 20,000 machinery repair factories in the country. Domestic companies are meeting 80 percent of the demand for any part of the agricultural machinery. The present government has laid great emphasis on the mechanization of agriculture. 50 percent subsidy is available for all farmers to buy agricultural machinery.
In recent times, various organizations in the country have started various activities to follow the purity in agricultural production. Together with various governmental and non-governmental organizations including the Department of Agricultural Extension, it has developed non-toxic vegetable crop production and a middleman-free market structure in different districts of the country. Village Super Market, a multi-purpose market, has sprung up in the south. The farmer is selling his vegetables at a specific outlet in his village. From there they are moving to the Village Super Market under improved management. Initiatives are being taken to supply agricultural products to the capital market by cleaning, sorting, and improving packaging. Vegetables have already been marketed in this process. An important aspect of these initiatives is to ensure safe crop production and supply chain. In the same process, purity has been adopted in the production of fish, meat and milk and a secure market system has been established. Through this the farmers are coming under the practice of producing safe crops.
In recent times, there has been a growing interest among farmers in the use of modern technology. Developed countries are incorporating smart technology in agriculture. The use of this smart technology has also started in Bangladesh. IoT is now being used in dairy and livestock farms in the country. There is a lot of success in using digital and smart technology. Entrepreneurs are much more enthusiastic and optimistic about the use of digital technology. Dutch Dairy Limited, for example, is a state-of-the-art smart dairy farm. Where digital and smart technologies are being used successfully. It is expected that in a few years, our country will start making effective use of digital technology in the dairy and meat sector, livestock and poultry sector. This will ensure complete purity of milk or meat, as well as increase production.
We have a promising breakthrough for the fisheries sector. That is the technology of controlling ammonia in fish farming ponds and giving moderate food to the fish. As a result of their long-term research, two software engineers in Bangladesh have developed a ‘smart aerator and feeding device’. When this device is fully integrated in the fisheries sector of our country, it will be the beginning of wonderful success in the production of fish free from chemical and harmful effects.
The success of our fisheries sector has been marked by the welfare of the young entrepreneurs and farmers of our country. Modern technologies like ‘recirculated aquaculture system’ and ‘bioflock’ have been added to fish farming as well as upward expansion in crop cultivation or soilless home farming method. In addition to these two methods, there has been a huge response among young entrepreneurs to control the level of ammonia in the water and reduce the cost of farming to produce much more fish on a small scale. A large number of educated conscious entrepreneurs in Bangladesh have joined the modern farming activities in an effort to quickly advance our global position in fish farming.
We need to motivate and accustom the farmer to the best practices of agriculture at all levels. In this case, the latest innovation of technology, the use of IoT and artificial intelligence are also important. In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, increasing productivity, multi-faceted success in the commercialization of agriculture, but there is a big challenge in agriculture. That is the optimal market structure of the productive class. In the age of ongoing smart technology, it has not been possible to build a platform to provide an effective solution to the market structure for the farmer. This year, for the first time in the country, it is known about the campaign of collecting paddy of Aman season by selecting farmers using the mobile app under government management. But in most cases, this initiative has not been successful. Considering the farmers, there are many weaknesses in this program as well.
With the development of technology and knowledge-science, human thought-consciousness is developing. Our success in the production of all food grains, vegetables, fruits including rice, fish, meat, eggs, and milk is exemplary. Overcoming many adversities, the farmer has achieved today’s production success. The individual initiatives of the farmers are being considered as promising success in the field of commercial agriculture.
Agriculture has now become a more investment-oriented commercial enterprise. New information technology is being added in place of more profit and productivity. Bangladesh’s progress in developing agricultural technology in tandem with the developed world is astonishing. If the picture of the last decade is presented, the entrepreneurial farmers of Bangladesh have focused on the agricultural practices that we have brought from the developed countries of the world. Needless to say, the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have begun to be fully felt in the agriculture of our country.
The use of machinery must be ensured at all levels of agriculture. Besides, planting of improved high-yielding varieties of crops should be increased. There is a huge contribution of agronomists and agronomists behind our success in agriculture. They have shown other achievements in research and innovation. Scientists have invented many grain varieties. Technologists have invented appropriate technology. Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute has developed 545 high-yielding varieties of crops and 505 crop production technologies. Bangladesh Rice Research Institute has developed 6 inbred and 8 hybrid rice varieties. And Bangladesh Atomic Agriculture Research Institute has developed 108 high-yielding varieties of 18 important crops.
The company also invented bacterial fertilizers. Bangladesh is at the forefront of flood, drought salinity and disaster tolerant crop innovation in the world. This success of continuous research and innovation by agronomists and agro-technologists indicates a bright future for the growth of agricultural production. Agronomists and agronomists have not only developed advanced and necessary technologies for different crops, but also varieties and technologies in other fields including animal husbandry and fisheries. Their success awaits proper evaluation and appropriate incentives.
If necessary, this subsidy should be increased further. Remember, the shortage of agricultural workers is increasing day by day. Now 40 percent of the workforce is engaged in agriculture. By 2030, it will come down to 20 percent. Therefore, the necessity of using advanced technology or machinery in agriculture is easily conceivable. Agriculture should be made easy and profitable in the national interest.
Author: Fellow-Internet of Things, BNNRC.