Advanced farm mechanization can reform the Indian agricultural sector

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19 August 2020, New Delhi: “Advanced farm mechanization can improve the lives of farmers and agricultural workers”, said Ms Shomita Biswas, Joint Secretary (M&T), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt of India. Digital agriculture – where farmers can use digital technologies to access useful information, particularly on weather, could revolutionize the agricultural sector.” 

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Addressing a webinar ‘Future Advancements in Farm Mechanization’, organized by FICCI, Ms Biswas said, “The government initiatives towards farm mechanization aims at increasing the acceptance, adoption of mechanised farming in entire country. We need to collaborate with corporates and research institutes to provide advanced technical support to small and marginal farmers.”

Highlighting the focus areas for farm mechanization, she said, “Cotton picking is one of the areas where farm mechanization is yet to be introduced and we have set short term and long-term goals to work in these sectors.” 

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Roadmap on Farm Mechanization

Ms Biswas urged FICCI to develop a roadmap on farm mechanization and assured that the government will facilitate those segments that will help the country to move in the right direction. 

Dr K Alagusundaram, Deputy Director General (Agriculture Engineering), Indian Council of Agricultural Research-ICAR, GoI, said, “The farm size and area under cultivation will remain constant hence, productivity enhancement within the constant land area will be critical in the future. This signifies that agriculture will need a massive infusion of technology.” R&D for building high-efficiency farming machines and precision equipment for efficient farming will be important in days to come, he added. 

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Mr TR Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee and Group President, TAFE Ltd., said, “Farm mechanization should be prioritized so as to reduce input cost for farmers and encourage soil management and water conversation.” He further said that the farmers need high-end technological solutions, which will help in reducing the cost of materials like soil, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and water.

He stressed that subsidies should be substituted with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to farmers  which can result in targeted delivery and eliminate waste.

R&D in farm Mechanization

Mr Ravindra Agrawal, Managing Director, KisanKraft Ltd, said, “Our focus is on smaller and marginal farmers. We support the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and will work with the government to develop a five-year road map for the farm mechanization sector.”  He further stated that the government should simplify approvals and licensing to promote R&D in farm mechanisation.

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Mr Himanshu Goyal, India Sales and Alliances Leader, IBM Watson Media & Weather, said, “We are trying to get the best data on weather and soil to increase the efficiency of the farmers. We have launched the IBM Global High- Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting (IBM GRAF) that provides hyperlocal weather information to farmers, along with data on soil moisture and temperature, which aids farmers in making informed decisions on how and when to irrigate.” 

Mr Manohar Sambandam, Founding Partner & CEO, Green Robot Machinery Pvt. Ltd. said, “Agriculture Robotics is in its prime time for wider deployment in farms. As Robotics is reaching inflection point on economic viability, its robustness and readiness as a solution is increasing.”

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