December 02, 2018 07:00 PM

Few people know Israel as an agricultural success story, even as only 1% of our population works in it, says Ms Anat Bernstein-Reich, Chairperson, Israel-India Chamber of Commerce, Israel

Chandigarh (Face2News)

"Agriculture and business are intimately connected and driving home this point and the importance of technology, said, Nadir B Godrej, Managing Director, Godrej Industries, during his address at the CII-FACE event titled ‘Advanced Technologies in Reshaping Indian Agriculture 2.0’. The theme of the event was ‘Global Dialogue on Digital Pathways in Agriculture 2.0’. FACE stands for Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence.

In recent years, technology and agriculture have combined together and did their bit to change the world. Scientists, business and even farmers in some parts of the world are realizing the worth of technology and will soon come to see the applications like artificial intelligence in their fields.

 In his beautifully and interestingly rhymed speech, Godrej touched on almost all issues, challenges and solutions facing agriculture. “Vertical agriculture and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) can be very good tonics. Human nature is loathe, it wants yield and immunity both.” The 9-minute address was full of such wittiness, but brought home the message perfectly.

Earlier, Rohtash Mal, Chairman and Managing Director, EM3 Agri-Services Pvt Ltd,gave the opening address and set the context. He said, “Agriculture is looking more and more like a factory; there is input, and monetization of the output. The farmer manages inputs, outputs, risk etc. There is a surfeit of technology. The deficit lies, particularly in most emerged countries like India, in the deployment of technology.
Focus on deployment of technology; application is paramount.”

Ram Dhulipala, Head, digital Ag Initiatives, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), who addressed the gathering through Skype, said, “Smaller land holdings act as a hurdle for transfer of technology. We must apply business concepts like Porters’ value chain and give farmers a framework where farmers can think of enhancing

Speaking on Global Innovation and Technology, Ms Ratika Jain, CEO, Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA), jointly owned by the CII and the Government of India, said, “What if you could build the right climate to grow anything you want. A third prototype version of a personal food computer has been developed at MIT, however, as Mr Rohtash has said, deployment is the key.”

Anat Bernstein-Reich, Chairperson, Israel-India Chamber of Commerce, Israel, credited the success of her country’s agriculture to hard work and application of technology. “We have scarce land and only 8.5 million people; we had no choice, but to succeed in agriculture. We, today, have 12 centres of excellence. Collaborate with us. Israelis never say yes, at the first instance, but eventually they do so. Godrej Agrovet has adopted Israeli technology at its Nasik facility. Godrej just told me, that facility now has 11 cows.” She listed Israel as hub for precision agriculture and the strong IT industry there; as also dairy, herd management etc. “There is also a technology transfer organizations (TTOs),” she added.

Siebe Schuur, Agriculture Counsellor, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, said, “Implementation on the ground is key. For this, the key ingredient is investing in vocational training.”

In the last address of the session on ‘Empowering farmers with affordable digital agriculture solutions’, Ranveer Chandra, Chief Scientist, Microsoft Azure Global, said, “We are working to let them see and have all relevant data on their display screens. We welcome start-ups to partner with us and we are using a technology called TV White Space to get the data over the last mile, so to speak. Our strength and mission is providing actionable data to the farmer.”

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