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International Conference on Computing, Communication and Automation (ICCCA2017)

Agricultural Management using Cloud Computing


in India
Dinesh Kumar Baghel Arun Singh, Pratyush Kumar Deka
Assistant Professor, SCSE Assistant Professor, SCSE
University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Galgotias University
Dehradun, India Greater Noida, India
dbaghel@ddn.upes.ac.in {arun.singh, pratyush.deka}@galgotiasuniversity.edu.in

Abstract—Although agriculture now accounts for only 14 expand India’s agriculture production. The life style of Indian
percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), rapid growth of farmers and farming is also varying rapidly due to increase in
agriculture in India is critical for inclusiveness. Information non-agricultural opportunities. The technological innovation
Communication and Technology (ICT) provides greater role in in agriculture is not reaching to the producers because of
offering greater expertise to producers regarding pricing, good
illiteracy, lack of awareness, communication gap etc. which
quality seed information, fertilizers, disease detail, sharing new
discoveries of scientists working at various Agricultural results in failure of achieving possible production rate. The
Institutes. An effective implementation of cloud computing in loss is growing more than 40% in worldwide which include
agricultural sector is encouraging and required for overall more than 19.1% of loss due to disease caused, bacteria, virus
development of agricultural sector of India. There are potential and fungi, 10.2% due to insects attack and 12.2% due to
risks in cloud computing which if properly addressed can be a weeds [1][8].
potent ICT tool in agricultural sector in India. Considering the Investment in setting up the ICT infrastructure and their
benefits of cloud computing, a design is proposed for Indian maintenance is high. Hence there is a need for the cheap and
agricultural sector and two performance metrics are discussed user friendly ICT tool for agriculture sector which can handle
which can be used to assess any cloud based application.
increasing large data volume, scalability, manpower, require
Keywords— ICT; Cloud Computing; agriculture; Service Level less maintenance and can help in reducing the steep rise in the
Agreement. price of energy and food, mainly caused by factors such as
population growth, poor trade and market policy in developing
I. INTRODUCTION countries.
People learned to grow, harvest and sell crops for their living ICT is playing a major role in every sector from research to
and benefits for centuries; they always seek for information day-to-day activities like medical imaging, financial services,
exchange for increasing their profits. Changing but by no communication with the help of emerging techniques such as
means limited factors such as weather conditions, soil fertility, computer vision, machine learning, mobile and cloud
pests and disease and changing agricultural trends to high- computing [1][16]. For developing countries like India where
value agricultural trends by sharing information and adopting agriculture is the main source of income and the people’s
discoveries of researchers in agricultural sector affects the livelihood, development of ICT tools in agriculture and allied
final outcome. Latest, crucial and timely knowledge can help sector is required for further economic progress. But, high cost
the farmers to deal with these changes effectively. In investment is a barrier to establish ICT infrastructure. Cloud
developing countries agriculture is highly localized which computing will act as an ICT tool which is faster, efficient,
prevents information sharing [4]. Hence the ability to reliable and user-friendly and play an important role is
aggregate and analyze data from multiple sources will soon developing the Indian agricultural sector and strong agro
generate breakthrough in agriculture. Other areas like weather information base [2][16].
forecasting, threat prediction, environmental, meteorological, The magic of cloud computing is that user can avail the
census data etc. can also benefit from this approach [11]. services of it on pay-per-use basis irrespective of location and
According to annual agricultural report India contains 2.4% of time. It does not require installation and maintenance of
the world’s geographical area and has 4% of world’s water software at their device, thereby reducing manpower and
resources [12]. The agriculture and allied sector contributed maintenance required of those services and improve
14% for Nation’s GDP and shared in India’s export to about information sharing and integration [4][16]. So developing
13.08% in 2012-13 [13][14]. 62% population of India is cloud computing application is an important opportunity to
directly or indirectly depends on agriculture [15]. Hence rapid carry out industry applications for agriculture and also
growth of agricultural production is necessary for GDP as well necessary for developing centralized, controlled agro
as meeting the rising demand for food. This can be done by information base for gaining optimal benefit [5].
providing right information at right time to farmers and Currently, the countries in the world for the study of cloud
sharing information among them [12]. ICT plays an important computing technology are not very mature. Research in
role and an efficient information system can be of great help to developed countries started earlier, and has good results in the

ISBN: 978-1-5090-6471-7/17/$31.00 ©2017 IEEE 801


International Conference on Computing, Communication and Automation (ICCCA2017)

basic framework, technical support, platform building. x According to a report by BSA, The Software Alliance,
Information Technology companies like Amazon, Google, in 2013 BSA Cloud Computing Scorecard several
Microsoft, HP, IBM, Oracle and so on have deeply realized countries have made significant improvements in
the huge market potential and business opportunities in the policy environment for the BSA indexed areas. This
field of “Cloud Computing”, and all have been engaging in shows their readiness towards adopting the cloud
these studies. computing environment with Japan as the leading
country and India holding the seventeenth position- an
II. CLOUD COMPUTING OVERVIEW improvement of two places from last year [20].
In public communication and literature ideas about
computation as a public utility emerged in 1960s. Information
Systems Professor Ramnath Chellappa first used the term
“Cloud Computing” in 1997. In 2006 Amazon offered
“Amazon Web Services” as a cloud computing service to
customers [17].
Cloud computing known as third IT revolution, refers to the
fact that services are available in a very simple and affordable
manner without having to know the service provider and all the
technicalities are hidden by the cloud. Cloud computing
services can be availed whenever and wherever users needed
and like any utility bills (e.g. gas, electricity, water etc.). Users
will pay according to their usage-a metering pay feature or paid
service usage model. It offers users less manpower
participation, low maintenance, super computing capabilities,
reduced resource inputs and waste because complex and huge
computing is split and distributed over a large number of Fig. 1. NIST Cloud Computing Framework
servers over the computer network which results in availability Cloud computing have five universal values [7]:
of ultra-huge amount of information services within seconds
[6]. x Reduction of initial cost.
When it comes to its definition, National Institute of x Allocation of resources on demand without limit.
Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing as
“Cloud Computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, x Maintenance and upgrades performed in the back-end.
convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of x Easy rapid development including collaboration with
configurable computing resources(e.g. networks, servers, other systems in the cloud.
storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly
provisioned and released with minimal management effort or x More possibilities for global service development.
service provider interaction. This cloud is composed of five
Participants involved in cloud computing [3]:
essential characteristics, three service models, and four
deployment models.” [18]. According to the Cloud Security x Stakeholders who are interested in only using the
Alliance and NIST guidelines for cloud computing, it has four application and they don’t have to know anything
different deployment models namely private, community, about the underlying technology. These are the end
public and hybrid. Beside this based on user requirement, cloud users.
computing offers the IaaS, PaaS, SaaS basic models to deliver
the services. It is shown by Fig 1 [4]. x Business management who is responsible for the
governance of data or services in cloud. Cloud service
Some key facts about cloud computing: providers must provide security as well guaranteed
x Cloud computing consumes 1/10 the energy of a PC. and predictable services.
From mid-2008 organizations started switching from x In the end lies the cloud service provider who has the
company owned hardware to cloud services [17]. responsibility of IT assets and maintenance.
x According to a survey done among 250 companies the In common usage the tem “Cloud” is essentially a metaphor for
following three prominent features were found to be the internet. The following basic services are offered by the
uplifting of cloud computing- efficiency, capital cost cloud computing:
reduction and alleviating staffing issue [17].
A. Software as a Service (SaaS):
x The shift of traditional ICT trends towards cloud This model offers ICT tools such as software, web
computing has gone from $46.41 billion in 2008 to applications etc., without the need to buy and install them in
$150 billion in 2014 with potential to reach over $200 specific machines and are accessible from various client
billion by 2016 [19]. devices through thin client interface or program interface.
Another promising feature of this model is that users are

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International Conference on Computing, Communication and Automation (ICCCA2017)

charged on pay-per-use basis and they don’t have to manage IV. ISSUES RELATED TO CLOUD COMPUTING
the underlying cloud infrastructure [18]. Some issues related to cloud computing are illustrated
B. Platform as a Service (PaaS): below:
In this model consumer of cloud are offered computing x Privacy and Security: Issues regarding proprietary
environment so that they can deploy into cloud infrastructure data, security of data since data is being accessed
consumer-created or acquainted application created using outside their space should be considered for fast
programming languages, libraries and other tools supported by access and prevention of loss of data it should be
the provider without worrying about the cloud infrastructure mirrored in multiple sites and hence making it more
and has control over configuration settings [18]. vulnerable. Besides it data should be stored on
geographically far apart sites to avoid data damage
C. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS):
which could occur if we group such data at one
This form of cloud computing usually includes physical location [9].
components that are used in availing ICT services, such as x Standards: In order to ensure neutrality while
virtual computers, data centers, traffic monitoring and moving entire operations uniformly issues regarding
redirecting, basic network components, operating systems accessing storing, modification is there [9].
where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary x Legality: Ownership agreements like “Do the cloud
software. They don’t manage the cloud infrastructure; instead
service providers also have the ownership for
of that possibly they are offered limited control of electing
enterprise data, intellectual property issues are there
networking components (e.g. firewalls). This is the most
outstanding benefit of cloud computing as the organizations when the service is provided by third party? [9]”
invest the most in establishing the infrastructure [18]. x Mentality: Ownership mentality should be
relinquished to some extent for widely accepting
III. CHARACTERISTICS OF CLOUD COMPUTING cloud computing [9].
These delivery models form the core of the cloud and they x Pricing theory: For the long run pricing theory need
exhibit certain characteristics which are as follows: to be revisited [9].
x Simplicity: It is simple to use and setup all the Apart from that compliance, vendor lock-in and
services without having to worry about resource enterprise/user inertia are some other issues that needs
management and underlying cloud infrastructure. attention. These cloud computing concerns are quickly
x High Elasticity: According to consumer demand, amplified when coupled with internet [11].
provider’s computing resources can be pooled
dynamically to serve multiple consumers using a V. POTENTIAL SUGGESTED ACTIONS AND AREAS FOR
multi-tenant model. It has the capability to scale FUTURE STUDY
rapidly outward and inward commensurate with Some of the key areas that need attention and further study
demand. in order to provide seamless cloud computing operation are
x High Reliability: Cloud computing can handle the mentioned below [11]:
failed node automatically and ensure the computing x Transparency on where data is located, provider’s
and related applications can run smoothly [5]. performance.
x High Flexibility: cloud services are transparent in x Well defined metrics on SLAs (Service Level
that users don’t have to master the cloud computing Agreement).
mechanism in order to avail the services.
x Establishing standards in metrics for import/export of
x Collaboration: Since all the applications are on
data service, quality interface to cloud services and
cloud, it becomes a natural fit for consumers to
minimum service requirements.
effectively collaborate on a common project or
application. x Development of commonly accepted taxonomy of
x Low Cost: For infrequent users, it provides services cloud services towards explaining an often fuzzy
on pay-per-use basis without purchasing expensive concept. Collecting and publishing various case
equipment which also reduces cost and knowledge studies to clearly explain the potential bottom-line
requirement. benefits to corporate and government institutions and
x High Impendence: Consumers can access the the advances they have achieved in this area.
services through heterogeneous thin or thick client x Policy makers can learn from more “mature”
platforms (e.g. mobile phones, laptops, tablets etc.). infrastructure industries such as banking and
Location independency is also achieved in that end- transportation.
user generally has no control or knowledge over the x Increased collaboration among IT industries and
exact location of provided resources like obtaining government to make all above points to happen as
information and services by the internet. Sometimes well as creating “mutual aid” agreement organization
it offers higher level of location information (e.g. wise in case of attack or failure of service and in
country, state etc.). improving network infrastructure also.

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International Conference on Computing, Communication and Automation (ICCCA2017)

VI. COMMON ISSUES IN AGRICULTURE In order to overcome the farmer’s limited ability and
In India numerous ICT projects by government and private educational level readiness for adopting cloud computing is
sector organizations are running like E-choupal, ikissan required to seek expert advice for expert decision making [16].
Kendra, AGMARKNET, Raitha Samparka Kendra Online, Cloud computing can be considered as composed of two parts.
Agriwatch.com etc., but poor IT infrastructure, less First is to fulfill requirement with user friendly interface and
communication to remote areas, poor knowledge and faster approach. Second, store all relevant data in centralized
awareness hindered the progress of these projects [4]. In the cloud location [16]. First part generally provides services like
rural areas, since producer’s ability is limited which if coupled mentioned below [16]:
with low educational level exhibits operating feasibility x Current demand and supply information of
problems for producers. agricultural products in different parts of the country.
Sometimes the quality of the information is low, which x Communication in form of text, image, audio, visual
cannot satisfy the producers’ reality needs and hence bother facility in native language in which they are
producers in applying practical information and have less comfortable so that an illiterate person can also
impact on farmers. Different agencies with different understand the vital disseminated information.
agricultural information resources characteristics exist. It often
offers advisory problem to farmers as to whom they should x Communication devices should be there.
consult.
x Knowledge sharing- apart from sharing local
Smallholder producers are asset poor. They lack required information the system should also incorporate
financial investment to acquire inputs for production and information from agro experts/researchers and
commercialization [21]. Inefficient utilization of existing updated via a proper knowledge sharing mechanism.
resources like modern agricultural production equipment, Producers can access all these information with the
agricultural machinery, which results in regional agricultural help of Commodity Information Centers (CIC) and
production differences and also leads to strong dependence on be aware of all these recent agro related information
natural climate [3]. via a proper co-operation mechanism.
Inappropriate technical guidance in areas like breeding Second generally provide services mentioned below [16]:
pollution-free crop cultivation fertilizer, irrigation and soil
improvement, livestock breeding, weather forecasting etc. x Agro data bank- An agro data bank which contains
agricultural information in a centralized cloud should
leaves farmers in a state of blind conformity [3]. Producers
also is there for researchers to extract agricultural
have less information about input output of market, quality
and quantity parameters than traders mainly because they are data for further analysis and devise some new method
price takers. Seasonal variation in price causes them to dispose in agriculture sector for the benefit of nation.
their production soon after harvest. Apart from that Agro data bank should contain [16]:
smallholder farmers also deal in small village markets [21].
They have poor infrastructure such as road, x Recently grown region wise crop related information,
telecommunication, electricity and water which further hinder region wise weather information along with forecast
their market access. They failed to represent themselves as for some time duration.
“Farmer Organization” and hence unable to take advantage of x Temporal information regarding the behavior of soil
benefit of collective bargaining power [10][21]. in past in order to forecast the future trend of soil
Commercializing small holder agriculture can boost agrarian
development which requires efficient market rich in market x Crop growth monitoring module to analyze crop
information, transportation and profitable pricing system and growth in different regions on regular basis and
capital. It reduces the opportunistic behavior between traders compare it with past
and farmers. Therefore an alternative model to integrate
farmers into better paying commodity chain values is required x Region wise farmer related data to assess their
[21]. involvement in Indian Agricultural activities. It will
be of great help for policy makers to take decision on
Kiosks at the grass root level, information islands due to encouraging and promoting agriculture.
agriculture localized nature, less utilization of equipment
resources and regional facilities and less co-operation x FOPS (frequently occurring problem session) should
mechanisms of technical resources are other issues [4][6]. also be there to provide solution to frequently
occurring problems. Provision to incorporate new
VII. CLOUD COMPUTING USE IN ADDRESSING THESE unattended problem seeking for expert solution from
CHALLENGES AND PROPOSED MODEL experts should also be there.
Agricultural information resources mode and services are Cloud computing offers people who don’t understand
changing with time from face to face interaction to printed computers ease of use just like any other utility such as
material, media, telephone, network etc. as the external water, electricity, gas etc. cloud computing also helps in
environment changes for transferring information to producers construction and improvement of agricultural products
[5]. supply chain with the help of easy information exchange

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International Conference on Computing, Communication and Automation (ICCCA2017)

Fig. 2. Layered Architecture for Cloud Services


and communication between producers and enterprises, Fig. 2 shows a simple proposed layered architecture for
thereby increasing producers profit [9]. The cloud cloud services which promotes vertical and horizontal
computing platform hence acts as a Back Box between development.
producers and agricultural information services. It helps
in providing highly qualified unified services to producers Benefits of the proposed model are:
on time [5]. x Better and organized data management by a team of
A nationwide group NACIIC (National Agriculture Cloud professionals.
Innovation and Incubator Center) can be formed to benefit x Data readiness.
agriculture industry from cloud computing.
x Increased local and global communication which will
Recently a study in Japan is carried out for the connection result in motivated farmers.
between agriculture and cloud computing. They regarded
agriculture production as a PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle. x Reduced rural urban migration and hence increased
In this production data is routinely collected and suggestions employment.
are retrieved by analysis engine such as data miners which
x Reduction in required man power, maintenance and
operate on this large amount of data. Maintenance is easy as
infrastructure.
modification is done to the software on a single system in the
cloud. Detailed discussion on this is given in [7]. x Reduced gap between traders and sellers.
There are some few concerns which further hinders the VIII. PERFORMANCE METRIC FOR FRAMEWORK
nationwide applicability of cloud computing. Some of which
are conflict in country laws, high bandwidth requirement for Performance for cloud computing application can be
better network connectivity to optimally use the cloud assessed based on the following factors:
services. Alternative is to use text based services through Cost, service time, agility, suitability which is measured as
mobile devices in native language [16].

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International Conference on Computing, Communication and Automation (ICCCA2017)

Suitability= [12] Dept. of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of


݊‫ ݊݋݂݊݋ݎܾ݁݉ݑ‬െ ݁‫݁ܿ݅ݒݎ݁ܵݕܾ݀݁݀݅ݒ݋ݎ݌ݏ݁ݎݑݐܽ݁ܨ݈ܽ݅ݐ݊݁ݏݏ‬ India, “State of Indian Agriculture 2012-2013,” New Delhi, 2013.
[Online]. Available: http://agricoop.nic.in/Annual%20report2012-
݊‫ ݊݋݂݊݋ݎܾ݁݉ݑ‬െ ݁‫ݎ݁݉݋ݐݏݑܥ݄݁ݐݕܾ݀݁ݎ݅ݑݍ݁ݎݏ݁ݎݑݐܽ݁ܨ݈ܽ݅ݐ݊݁ݏݏ‬ 13/ARE2012-13.pdf
[13] Dept. of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of
If all features are satisfied then suitability = 1 India, “Annual Report 2013-2014,” New Delhi, 2014. [Online].
Available: http://agricoop.nic.in/Annualreport2013-14/artp13-
= 0 otherwise. 14ENG.pdf
Availability is measured as [14] Planning Commission, Govt. of India, “Annual Report 2013-2014,”
ሺ‫ ݁݉݅ܶ݁ܿ݅ݒݎ݈݁ܵܽݐ݋ݐ‬െ ‫݈ܾ݈݁ܽ݅ܽݒܣݐ݋݊ݏܽݓ݁ܿ݅ݒݎ݄݄݁ܵܿ݅ݓݎ݋݂݈݁݉݅ܶܽݐ݋ݐ‬ሻ New Delhi, 2014. [Online]. Available:
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