Farm mechanization can elevate the agricultural economy and raise farmers’ incomes. A strong collaboration between German and Indian stakeholders forms an important basis for sharing experience and information and for working together towards developing the sector.
Following the Green Revolution, India witnessed a remarkable development: Today, India is the largest producer of milk, pulses and tea. It is the second largest pro-
ducer of wheat, rice, fruits and vegetables. The country is largely self-sufficient in food grains – and it has also become a net exporter of food items. Furthermore, India is fast emerging as a sourcing hub of processed food. Against the background of a growing middle class with rising incomes and a high population density, the potential for the development of the sector is enormous.
But a strong food processing sector in India needs to be based on an efficient and sustainable Indian agriculture: All areas of the food processing sector depend on high quality agricultural produce, be it dairy, fruits and vegetables, grain, meat and poultry or fisheries. However, Indian agriculture still faces major challenges: effects of global climate change, the need to develop strategies for a sustainable productivity enhancement with the main objective to significantly raise quantity and quality of food, an aver - age low income of farmers, wastage of agriproduce during the food supply chain, and lack of financial inclusion.
A sustainable productivity enhancement and the achievement of the targeted growth of 4 percent in agriculture is therefore not imaginable without significant improvement in soil health, water man agement and irrigation, improved seed varieties and hybrids, and integrated pest management, credit financing and – farm mechanization. Innovative technological solutions at all stages of the value chain are the key to a modern, efficient and sustainable agricultural production in India.
In order to show and demonstrate the various opportunities to raise efficiency in the production and processing through the application of modern technology and methods in practice, the German Agribusiness Alliance together with DLG (German Agricultural Society) organized the Field Days 2016, which took place in the village Dolpur Kampa, Gujarat, on 23 and 24 February, 2016 and was supported by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
Dr. R. A. Sherasiya, Director Horticulture, Agriculture and Cooperation Department of the Government of Punjab and Ms. Ursula Holzhauser, Counsellor for Food and Agriculture at the German Embassy New Delhi gave inaugural addresses. The exhibiting companies BASF India Limited, Bayer CropScience India Ltd., CLAAS Agricultural Machinery Pvt. Ltd., Same Deutz-Fahr (P) Ltd., Grimme India Pvt. Ltd., John Deere India Pvt. Ltd., Lemken India Agro Equipment Pvt. Ltd., and Zuern Harvesting GmbH & Co. KG presented modern technology and methods ranging from topics like soil preparation, planting, plant protection, and harvesting.
The company Technico Agro Sciences Ltd (ITC Group) supported the event. By attending the field demonstrations and discussions with experts, more than 500 visitors used the opportunity to get information about innovative solutions. Beyond Gujarat, farmers and company representatives from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra arrived to the event. Senior officials from ministries, administration and academic institutions participated, amongst them were representatives from the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, the Anand Agricultural University, and the Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board.
During the event, German companies demonstrated and proved that they have to offer a lot when it comes to modern and innovative technology. Many have been suc-
cessfully doing business in India for several decades, be it in seeds, fertilizers, plant protection, food process ing or agricultural machinery. And especially machinery companies can contribute to making farming a business proposition. Some 50 years ago, a Germa farmer could only feed 10 people.
Today, a German farmer can feed 142 people. This could only be reached through the mechanization of agriculture and through a strong partnership between farmers and companies, who not only offer the technology but also provide knowledge and training. However, to facilitate the transfer and implementation of new innovative technologies, proper and predictable policy interventions are absolutely required.
Already a number of important measures have been initiated by the Central and State governments to drive productivity, to encourage investment and to cease the limitation of the current Agri-Marketing System. The support of different measures to make machinery and equipment accessible and at the same time affordable for Indian farmers is surely a very important one. At the same time, the deployment of modern equipment can allow the efficient and sustainable use of inputs.
We believe that India and Germany can join hands in contributing to agricultural development in India, by building a technology partnership and by building know-
ledge and skill partnership. Agriculture continues to remain a major sector of the Indian economy; it contributes to 60 percent of employment and continues to be the primary source of living for 70 percent of the population. Hence, by making farming a profitable business proposition, economic, social and ecological development of the country can be achieved.