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Need to move beyond tractorisation to improve crop productivity: MoS, Agriculture

Custom hiring centres can provide rentable equipment and machinery that can be used to increase yields, reduce costs and avoid large capital expenditures

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India is self-sufficient in food grains but to progress further we need to collaborate with international patrons to improve the quality and penetration of mechanisation in agriculture sector. “Greater than 80% of landholdings belongs to small and marginal farmers (<2 hectares), the fragmentation of land holdings is expected to drop to 0.24 hectares by 2030. Custom hiring centres can provide rentable equipment and machinery that can be used to increase yields, reduce costs and avoid large capital expenditures. We need to move beyond tractorisation to improve crop productivity and put Indian agricultural sector on a global map”. said Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India at the inaugural session of ‘EIMA Agrimach India 2017’ conference and expo, organised by FICCI jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and FEDERUNACOMA, Italy in New Delhi.    
Dr. Sanjaya Baru, Secretary General, FICCI said on the occasion, “The automation and mechanisation of farms has seen a huge rise in the last few years and had been responsible for increasing crop yields across the country. The farmers need to have an easy access to credit to be able to fully utilise these services. Banks, NBFCs and corporations can offer various schemes that would make it easier for farmers to have an easy access to credit. The presence and utilisation of modern machinery is fundamentally important in the progress of this sector”.
“The government has introduced various schemes and policies such as SMAM (Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation) related to farm mechanisation that puts greater emphasis on the optimal utilisation of resources to improve agriculture yields.

“Since the implementation of SMAM, total funds of Rs. 1118.9 crore have been released to the states till 2017-18. Under this scheme 4,74,234 farming machines were distributed to farmers and 4,898 Custom Hiring Centres, 2,350 to Farm Machinery Banks and 57 Hi-tech hubs have been established to provide custom hiring services to farmers,” said Ashwini Kumar, Joint Secretary, Mechanization & Technology and PP, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
The farm equipment market in India is currently estimated at USD 8.8 billion in 2017 and it is expected to reach USD 12.5 billion by 2022 with a CAGR of 7.5 percent. India is the largest manufacturer of tractors and accounts for nearly one-third of the total tractor production in the world.

Satish Nadiger, Managing Director & CEO, John Deere, India said, “Although Central and State Governments have taken several measures by providing subsidies on machines for stubble management but has not found required traction in the farming community. These schemes need to develop greater penetration in the Indian market and there is a potential business opportunity for third parties and other start-ups to expand their current reach in crop residue management technologies.”
Mechanisation is not a problem that is limited to just India, Italy had an influx on machinery years ago, but the current problem is that the technology is not up to modern standards and needs to be developed to compete with global players. Maurizio Martina, Minister of Agricultural, Food & Forestry Policies, Italy said, “India and Italy can help each other out and complement each other to strengthen the farm machinery sector further.”
Even though India has progressed immensely in farm mechanisation, there are several challenges which are still faced by the industry.
Alessandro Malavolti, President, FEDERUNACOMA, Italy expressed his joy about the turnout at the 5th edition of EIMA AgriMach event as over 300 exhibitors from more than 8 countries are showcasing latest technologies and products in farm machinery sector. Consecutively for second time the event is hosting 180 international buyers from more than 40 countries, which is really commendable.
The exhibition is on till December 9, 2017 at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Pusa in New Delhi.

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