Advanced farm mechanisation can improve the lives of farmers and agricultural workers. Digital agriculture – where farmers can use digital technologies to access useful information, particularly on weather, could revolutionise the agriculture sector,” Shomita Biswas, Joint Secretary (M&T), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, Wednesday said.
Addressing a webinar ‘Future Advancements in Farm Mechanization’, organised by FICCI, Biswas said, “The government initiatives towards farm mechanisation aims at increasing the acceptance, adoption of mechanised farming in the 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 mechanisation, she said, “Cotton picking is one of the areas where farm mechanisation is yet to be introduced and we have set short term and long-term goals to work in these sectors.”
Biswas urged FICCI to develop a roadmap on farm mechanisation and assured that the government will facilitate those segments that will help the country to move in the right direction.
Speaking on the productivity enhancement within the constant land area, Dr K Alagusundaram, Deputy Director General (Agriculture Engineering), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), 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.
Highlighting the importance of farm mechanisation for soil management and water conversion, TR Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee and Group President, Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE) said, “Farm mechanisation should be prioritised 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 would help in reducing the cost of materials like soil, seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, and water.
He stressed that subsidies should be substituted with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to farmers which could result in targeted delivery and eliminate waste.
Stressing on the need for promoting R&D in farm mechanisation, Ravindra Agrawal, Managing Director, KisanKraft said, “Our focus is on smaller and marginal farmers. We support the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and will work with the government to develop a 5-year roadmap for the farm mechanisation sector." He further said that the government should simplify approvals and licensing to promote R&D in farm mechanisation.
Speaking on the occasion, 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.”
Addressing the webinar, Manohar Sambandam, Founding Partner & CEO, Green Robot Machinery 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.