Only technology can help achieve $5 trillion economy: Kailash Choudhary, MoS Agriculture
New Delhi, May 2022.
Underlining the importance of technology in agriculture, Shri Kailash Choudhary, Union Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare said that if India has to achieve $5 Trillion economy milestone, mass adoption of technologies like AI, precision farming, drone etc. in agriculture sector is essential.
He was speaking at one day seminar on “Futuristic New Technologies in Agriculture: A Game Changer for Indian Economy” organized here in New Delhi by India’s leading agro-chemical major Dhanuka Group in association with the ET Edge.
Reminiscing upon his own farming experience, he said, “Before the introduction of tractor technology, farmers had no option but to till the farms within 4-5 days or rains. Due to slow speed, as bulls used to do tilling, half of fields used to become unusable. Tractors enables farmers to till large swathe of farms in couple of days and it helped us achieve self sufficiency in grain production. Similarly, we need to leverage new technologies, such as drones, AI, precision farming, blockchain in farming to achieve Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s near future target of $5 Trillion economy.”
Shri Choudhary also exhorted present scientists at the seminar to look for untapped areas, such as rain-fed districts of country accounting for 40% arable land to increase agriculture production substantially by empowering farmers with new agri technologies. “Potential of most of the agricultural land in country has been exhausted, only the area dependant on rains is left whose potential needs to be tapped,” said Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.
In a message to seminar, former President of India His Excellency Shri Ram Nath Kovind said, “Indian Agriculture in shaping the future of Indian Economy through adoption of science led technologies. Obviously in the presence of dynamic farm scientists, policy makers, farmer’s representatives and industry giants, this discussion is bound to revolutionize future of agriculture through an evergreen revolution.”
Sharing his ground experience, Shri Vijay Sampla, Chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Castes pitched for judicious use of technologies to uplift the living standard of farmers.
“When I interacted with students of a school, almost all of them wished to scientists, engineers and doctors, but none of them wanted to be a farmer. This is because while country achieved self-sufficiency in food grain production, farmer is still poor! So, we need to ponder over how technology in agriculture can empower farmers directly and make their lives better and them lead dignified life,” said Shri Sampla.
Making a strong pitch for GM crops, Dr. Deepak Pental, former Vice Chancellor, University of Delhi said, “USA has increased agriculture production by 35% by introducing GM crops long back, whereas Europe just managed 6-7%. The population in Europe is anyways not increasing, so they have the option, but do we have option? So, we need to decide which side of divide we want to be!”
Dr. Pental, favouring the use of agro-chemicals said that high-quality agro-chemicals are essential if we want less damage to crops.
Underlining the role of new agri technologies like drones in his presentation on “Drones in crop protection: a Technology Revolution”, Shri Balvinder Singh Kalsi, CMD, Kia Ora Ventures Pvt. Ltd said, “New age technologies like drones and start ups like IoTech World Avigation are playing a vital role in revolutionarizing the farming sector in India by way of simplifying and speeding up spraying on agro-chemicals and mapping of area.”
Declaring that country is progressing well towards being food bowl for the world, Shri R. G. Agarwal, Chairman, Dhanuka Group said, “Government of India’s forward looking policies towards new technologies and swift approvals for agriculture sector, clearance to drone guidelines being an example, are paving the way for Indian being food bowl for the world by 2047.”
Shri M. K. Dhanuka, Managing Director, Dhanuka Agritech Ltd presented vote of thanks saying that listening to scientists, leaders and others here he was convinced and pray that PM Modi’s vision of India being the No. 1 economy by 2047 will certainly be realized.
Other dignitaries, scientists, government functionaries and farmers’ leaders who spoke in the seminar included Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest, Climate Change, Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution, Shri J.P. Dalal, Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Fisheries, Law & Legislative, Haryana Government, Dr. R.S. Paroda, Founder Chairman of TAAS, former Secretary of DARE & Director General of ICAR, Shri Rahul Dhanuka, Jt. Managing Director, Dhanuka Agritech Ltd, Shri Mridul Dhanuka, Whole Time Director, Orchid Pharma, Shri Rajeev Ranjan,