Barinder Saluja, Chandigarh
Dec. 06 : CII Agro Tech 2010, which was held from December 3-6, 2010 at Chandigarh, achieved one of its primary objectives of focusing on Sustainable Agriculture and bringing farmers face-to-face with the latest state-of-the-art technologies both in terms of machinery as well as agri-practices. It empowered them to look at the possibilities of moving up the value chain and ensure their long term prosperity. Enthused at the response generated from the farmers, 97% of the exhibitors stated that they would exhibit at Agro Tech 2012.
The 4-day Fair was visited by over 45,000 farmers from a number of States from as far as Kerala in the South, Meghalaya in the East, Gujarat in the West and J&K in the North. The farmers showed interest in large machines like combined harvesters, high powered tractors and also low cost agricultural machinery items. In addition, the farmers were also able to procure new varieties of high-yield seeds and learn about the latest agri-practices which could help them increase their yields, cut down on wastage and give a quantum jump to their incomes.
The other primary objective that Agro Tech successfully achieved was in terms of generating long term business for global and Indian companies, becoming a successful platform for a number of launches by them and facilitating the finalization of joint ventures/MOU between these companies. The International Buyer-seller meets ere a big success. Overall, 846 Joint Ventures/MoUs/deals estimated to be worth at least Rs 50 crores were finalised at CII AgroTech 2010 while the final enquiries figure was still being tabulated.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India was the partner of Agro Tech 2010 and there was a huge showcase of technologies and best practices by them. State Governments also extended support to Agro Tech 2010, with Punjab & Haryana being the Host States. The Food Expo and Apple Fest were supported by APEDA, Food Tech by All India Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Association and Livestock Expo by the Compound Feed Manufacturers Association of India. Canada, France, Germany, South Korea and UK had set up their pavilions while companies from Australia, Italy, Spain and USA showcased their products and services. South Korea and France had set up pavilions for the first time at Agro Tech. This was strong evidence of growing international interest in the Indian agriculture sector.
There were 230 participants over 6500 sq. m of exhibition area, of which 63 participants had come from overseas. All the 9 concurrent shows saw huge crowds. Five international conferences on contemporary issues in Indian agriculture were held in which some of the leading experts and policy makers in the field of agriculture presented their views. Over 150 conference delegates participated in the Conferences.
A large number of women farmers visited CII Agrotech 2010 and were impressed by the technology and services displayed at the Fair.
36 year old Kanta Devi who came from Una in Himahal Pradesh, has three acres of land where she grows vegetables like potatoes and corns. ”I was amazed at the type of seeds available at CII AgroTech and the agricultural practices that were discussed at a Kisan Ghosti I attended. This type of information is usually not available to us and I requested the speakers to also come to Una so that our entire farming community there could benefit from it.”
Growing vegetables like cauliflower, tomatoes and potatoes, 45 year old Sheela Devi, also from Una, is into commercial farming on a small scale. Owner of three 4 acres of land, Sheela was impressed by the grading machines and other implements available at CII AgroTech. “I have taken the details from the stall owners and will get in touch with them after tying up the required bank finance. I will set up the machine and offer this service to other farmers in Una too, which will help offset the cost of the machine,” she said,
Sweety Arora, one of the women farmers dominating the farming scene in the region, grows crops like rice, wheat, maize and pulses on her farms. She single handedly handles multi crop farms and Kinnow orchards. Using the latest technology on her farms, Arora thought the CII Agro Tech was a fabulous way of introducing the farmers to new techniques and machinery.
A regular visitor at Agrotech over the years, she has purchased a few machines from here already. “I am already using a couple of machines being showcased here, but I still came to check out what’s new in the market. I am very impressed. I really liked the irrigation practices being propagated at the Haryana and Punjab pavilions,” she added.
Kissan Gosthis, being held as part of CII AgroTech 2010, concluded on a positive note today with Soil testing dominating the last day of the Kissan Gosthis. Farmers were given information about soil testing, crop cultivation methods, optimum utilization of resources, recharging ground water table and Modern marketing methods.
Senior Soil Physicist of Punjab Agriculture University, Dr Charanjit Singh demonstrated soil testing live in front of the farmers explaining to them the nutrients present in the soil. Dr. Singh explained to the farmers the importance of having soil tested. “Pesticides contaminate food and soil. Farmers should use pesticides tested in an University,” he said. Singh also told agriculturists to not burn residue of rice but to sow them in the same land, which would help add to the soils nutrients.
Mr. BS Sidhu, Director of Agriculture, Government of Punjab shared his views on the prevention of water pollution with farmers. He urged farmers to form groups and work collectively so that they could make full use of government schemes for farmers.“If farmers make groups they will have more benefits like seed at low prices, good market prices for yield, transportation at low cost,” said Mr. Sidhu.
Modern marketing methods were also discussed at the Ghoshthi by Dr Shalendra Singh, Research Officer of National Institute of Agriculture Management, Jaipur. “You need to focus on quality,” he told the farmers, “because the tastes and preferences of consumers are changing with their increasing incomes and there is demand for quality food.”
Experts from Punjab Agriculture University and Rama Krishna from Tirth Agro held a session with farmers regarding Soil health and Water Management where different perspectives of decreasing nutrients of soils and ground water table were discussed with the agriculturists.
At the end of the Ghostis, the farmers were thankful to CII and wanted that such Ghostis be held more often.