“CII Agro Tech 2012 will help in inclusive development of the agricultural sector in India and this augurs well for the nation,” emphasized Mr Siraj Hussain, Additional Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Co-operation, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt of India while formally inaugurating the CII Agro Tech 2012 as the Chief Guest. The other dignitaries present included Mr. Malvinder Mohan Singh, Chairman CII Northern Region, Mr. Hari S Bhartia, Chairman AgroTech 2012, Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Chairman, CII National Council on Agriculture and Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII.
Mr Hussain also released the CII Theme Paper on Agro Tech 2012.
Mr Hussain shared, “In the rest of the country, the number of small and marginal farmers is increasing, while in Punjab, the trend is in the reverse. In the last one decade, about 1.28 lakh farmers in Punjab have leased out their land to big farmers. Another 72,000 farmers sold their land to large farmers, which is cause of grave concern for the state. If Punjab wants to make agriculture sustainable, the State will have to focus on diversification. Five years ago, 57,000 tonnes of wheat were procured from Madhya Pradesh, while last year the total procurement of Wheat touched 80 lakh tonnes. Also, in order to promote diversification and to provide better remuneration to farmers, especially those producing fruits and vegetables, they should be allowed to sell their produce directly to the private players including food processors and organized retail sector. In order to facilitate this transition, there should be some policy changes in APMC Act.” Mr. Hussain also spoke in support of FDI as it would provide better agriculture practices and new technology to Indian Agri community.
Mr. Malvinder Mohan Singh, Chairman, CII Northern Region and Executive Chairman, Fortis Healthcare Ltd highlighted that, “Agriculture is the top priority for the nation and for CII as well. Sustained agriculture growth is critical for us to be able to achieve food & nutritional security, for the nation to achieve double digit growth and most importantly to realize our objective of inclusive growth. Addressing these challenges requires Indian Agriculture to focus on ‘Innovation’ and ‘Sustainable Agriculture’. Considering this, the theme of Agro Tech 2012 is also ‘Sustainable Agriculture’.
Mr. Hari S Bhartia, Chairman, Agro Tech 2012 and Co-Chairman & Managing Director, Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd., highlighted that, “Over the years, Agro Tech has become a much awaited agriculture event across India, being the only integrated Agri show with a large domestic participation and significant international presence. We expect more than 30,000 farmers to visit Agrotech 2012. A very special feature this time is international farmer delegations Nepal, Netherlands and Australia. We also have a 35 member women farmer delegation from Una (Himachal Pradesh) visiting the fair.”
Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Chairman CII National Council on Agriculture and Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises Ltd., pointed that, “CII firmly believes that rejuvenating of Indian Agriculture is possible if and only if the Government and the Private sector join hands and play their specified complementary roles in the Agri sector. We need to work in a Mission-Mode wherein the approach should be result oriented, time bound, area and crop specific and be monitored closely. We should synergise efforts and resources of disparate departments, Government agencies, private sector and farmers. Facilitating Private sector investment in agriculture and agri related sectors is the need of the hour. Public Private Partnerships in other areas of the economy have proved quite successful and we must now bring these to the agriculture sector also.”
Mr. Mittal also focused attention on a policy for land consolidation, revamping of MSP Policy, repealing of the Essential Commodity Act, introduction of GST, Crop nutrition and rationalization of fertilizer/pesticide usage, propagation and intensification of micro/drip irrigation use, seamless integration of the agriculture value chain from farm to fork and treating farm mechanization as an Agri input rather than being part of the automotive sector.
Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII shared that “CII is committed to work towards bringing in greater efficiencies in agriculture. In this direction, the CII – Jubilant Bhartia Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence (CII-FACE) has been set up. The Centre works towards building capacity while leveraging technology and innovation to improve productivity and the environmental footprint of agriculture. It also focuses on introducing efficiencies across the supply chain, right from the farm gate to the end consumer,” he added.