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INDIA NEEDS MACHINERY AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR SMALL & MARGINAL FARMERS: Shobha Karandlije, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare

Sep 02, 2022

BENGALURU, 02 September 2022: With India becoming a food surplus country, the Indian farmer needs affordable machinery and technologies to expand production and come up with value-added products with export potential, said Ms Shobha Karandlaje, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, at the 7th International Exhibition and Conference EIMA Agrimach India 2022. 

MoS Sushri Shobha KarandlajeMr Murugesh R Nirani, Minister of Large and Medium Industries, and Mr Muniratna, Minister for Horticulture and Planning & Statistics, Government of Karnataka, inaugurated the three-day conference cum exhibition in the city.  

Speaking on occasion, MoS Karandlije noted that the country's robust cereals, fruits and vegetable production are at 314 million metric tons and 334mmt, respectively. However, she said, "What the country needs now is affordable and quality food processing, agri-marketing and agri-export avenues." 

Ms Karandlaje encouraged equipment manufacturers and technology developers to manufacture food processing machinery to check the rampant wastage of agriculture and horticulture produce in the absence of value addition. She said that instead of wasting, the food could be exported to nations with limited food production avenues. She also noted that with 2023 being the 'International year of millets', India could step up exports as the country produces millets. 

Mr Murugesh R Nirani, Minister of Large and Medium Industries, Government of Karnataka noted that increased efforts were needed for technology improvement, adoption, and exports. In addition, the minister encouraged foreign industry participants to introduce affordable mechanised farming, given the small land holdings in the state.  

Noting the enhanced adoption of modern technologies such as IoT, AI and ML in agriculture, Mr K Ullas Kamath, Chairman, FICCI Karnataka State Council, said that Indian agriculture and allied sector is on the verge of adopting modern technologies such as IoT, AI and ML. "Indian and foreign agrotech players can play a vital role in supplying these advanced technologies." He noted that "there are few players in the market (at the moment), but the presence of 6 to 7 million farmers in the country exhibits a huge opportunity for private and foreign entities." 

Mr TR Kesavan, Chairman, FICCI National Agriculture Committee, alluded to the role of technology in agriculture in optimising farm inputs' usage and reducing wastages. "The cost of technology is going to be expensive and because of that India will be changing towards, agricultural services modal," he added. Mr Kesavan pointed to a platform that his company TAFE has developed where farmers rent machinery to other farmers and said, "Last year we had about 5.5 lakh farmers on the platform and recorded transactions worth ₹650 crores." 

Mr Alessandro Malavolti, President, FederUnacoma, said the future of mechanisation is not just in cereals, rice and other foods but in fruits and vegetables. He referred to the previous editions of EIMA Agrimach and noted that in 2009 when the event was organised for the first time, the Indian tractor market was 340000. "Last year, India crossed 1 million", he noted, adding, "nowadays, India is the biggest market worldwide for tractors." 

He said more than 25 big Italian companies had started production in India. "This is very encouraging, and this collaboration can grow in the future. We would like to invest more and collaborate," he added.

Mr Shivayogi C Kalasad, Secretary to Government, Agriculture Department, Government of Karnataka, Dr S Rajendra Prasad, Vice-Chancellor, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK, and Mr Ravindra Agrawal, Chairman, Agriculture Sub-Committee, FICCI Karnataka State Council also spoke on occasion. 

EIMA Agrimach India 2022, running in its 7th edition, is organised for the first time in Bengaluru. The event has registered participants from more than 40 countries. Over three days, more than 10000 farmers, industry participants, foreign delegates, investors, agriculture researchers, and students would visit the exhibition and conference.