Ra­jasthan Agritech Meet fos­ter­ing eco­nomic growth

Or­gan­ised jointly by the State gov­ern­ment and FICCI, Ra­jasthan Global Agritech Meet (GRAM) in Kota was cer­tainly the big­gest sym­bol of agri­cul­tural dy­namism in the coun­try. BK Jha Re­ports

Rural & Marketing - - CONTENT - Va­sund­hara Raje Chief Min­is­ter, Ra­jasthan

Fol­low­ing the suc­cess of Ra­jasthan Global Agritech Meet (GRAM) 2016, which was or­gan­ised in Jaipur in Novem­ber 2017, Gov­ern­ment of Ra­jasthan looked for­ward to repli­cate it’s ac­com­plish­ment at re­gional level. GRAM 2017 was or­gan­ised Kota in as­so­ci­a­tion with FICCI from May 24. One of the core ob­jec­tives of this three­day mega event was to ex­pose the farm­ers of the Kota Di­vi­sion to best agri­cul­ture prac­tices and de­fine the next qual­i­ta­tive leap in State’s agri­cul­ture growth story. The event brought all stake­hold­ers - farm­ers from in and around Kota, aca­demi­cians, tech­nol­o­gists, agribusi­ness com­pa­nies and pol­icy makers- on a sin­gle plat­form for knowl­edge shar­ing.

The Novem­ber event had seen for the first time since in­de­pen­dence, the par­tic­i­pa­tion of rep­re­sen­ta­tives of sev­eral coun­tries like Nige­ria, Aus­tralia, Ta­jik­istan, Is­rael, Ja­pan, Nether­lands, UK, Ser­bia, Kaza­khstan and World Bank. As many as 38 MoUs worth Rs. 4,400 crores were signed dur­ing the event. Union Min­is­ter M Venka­iah Naidu em­pha­sized on the need for di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of crops as the only way for­ward for the progress of the agri­cul­ture sec­tor and in turn the na­tion. Apart from this, or­ganic farm­ing, pro­cess­ing, cold stor­age chains, development, post har­vest­ing as well as should also be given ad­e­quate at­ten­tion. This will also check the mi­gra­tion of farm­ers from agri­cul­ture to other sec­tors. He also said that Gov­ern­ment should fo­cus on the 4 ‘I’ for the well be­ing of the farm­ers -- Ir­ri­ga­tion, In­fra­struc­ture, In­ter­est Rate and In­surance.

Naidu also re­it­er­ated the fact that the Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to achieve the Prime Min­is­ter’s mis­sion of dou­bling farm­ers’ in­come by 2022 and GRAM be­ing the one of its kind agri event in the coun­try, is a sig­nif­i­cant step in this direction.

High­light­ing the achieve­ments of the GRAM held in Jaipur in Novem­ber 2016, Chief Min­is­ter of Ra­jasthan Va­sund­hara Raje said.

“The prime ob­jec­tive of GRAM is to en­sure the self reliance of farm­ers. This will be pos­si­ble only when the farm­ers will in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity with the use of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy and cul­ti­vate crops as per mar­ket de­mand,” the Ra­jasthan Chief Min­is­ter said

while pre­sid­ing over the in­au­gu­ral ses­sion of the event.

The state gov­ern­ment an­nounced that if a farmer will setup a pro­cess­ing unit in his farm the Gov­ern­ment will pro­vide 50 per­cent sub­sidy on a min­i­mum in­vest­ment of Rs. 40 Lakhs. She also urged the farm­ers to ear­mark an area in their farms solely for or­ganic farm­ing.

Kota re­gion is very wealthy with nu­mer­ous agri­cul­tural boun­ties. With suf­fi­cient wa­ter avail­abil­ity and 50 per­cent of to­tal cul­tivable land, there is am­ple av­enues for farm­ers to have a chance at dou­bling their in­comes. High­light­ing the ini­tia­tives taken by Gov­ern­ment to en­hance the liveli­hood of the farm­ers State Co­op­er­a­tive Min­is­ter Ajay Singh ex­plained that in­ter­est rates on loans for farm­ers have been re­duced from 12- 14 per­cent to 7-10 per­cent. Not only this, progress has also been made to max­i­mize in­surance claims for farm­ers at a low premium.

Fo­cus Ar­eas

The mega agro-event was de­signed with 4 fo­cus ar­eas in mind - ware­hous­ing, op­ti­mum wa­ter uti­liza­tion, em­pow­er­ment of women and workforce train­ing. The State gov­ern­ment has taken sev­eral crop di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion ini­tia­tives in ar­eas of date, quinoa, olive, dragon fruit and pome­gran­ate. Kota re­gion show­cased op­por­tu­ni­ties and huge scope for in­vest­ment in ar­eas of post-har­vest pro­cess­ing, agri-tourism, cus­tom hir­ing cen­tres, among oth­ers. The State has made ef­forts to foster growth in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor and has been at the fore­front of pro­mot­ing in­vest­ments, re­view­ing poli­cies, bring­ing trans­for­ma­tional re­forms and es­tab­lish­ing ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture.

Ex­perts also high­lighted some of the fac­tors for col­lect­ing high qual­ity pro­duce. Ac­cord­ing to them, site se­lec­tion, farmer train­ing, cli­mate and weather pat­terns and soil sus­tain­abil­ity, play a cru­cial role. Emer­i­tus Prof and For­mer Project Co­or­di­na­tor on ICAR Arid Legumes Project, CAZRI, Jodhpur, D Ku­mar said that there is a se­ri­ous need to cul­ti­vate pulses in higher vol­umes as they have farm­ing ben­e­fits like less wa­ter re­quire­ment and high tem­per­a­ture re­sis­tance. Procurement Head, Souf­flet Malt In­dia Pvt. Ltd, Sachin Tho­rat em­pha­sized on the need bar­ley cul­ti­va­tion, as it is good for the crop cy­cle, re­quires less wa­ter and gives good re­turn on in­vest­ment.

Agri­cul­tural Abun­dance of Kota

The in­au­gu­ral day wit­nessed a ses­sion on ‘Agri­cul­tural Abun­dance of Kota: Strengths and Prospects’. The sem­i­nar threw light on how to cre­ate wider value chains based on the prod­ucts of Kota di­vi­sion. Chaired by CEO Sabzi­wala and Ad­vi­sor, FICCI, Pravesh Sharma the sem­i­nar also un­der­lined the

The prime ob­jec­tive of GRAM is to en­sure the self reliance of farm­ers. This will be pos­si­ble only when the farm­ers will in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity with the use of tech­nol­ogy and cul­ti­vate crops as per mar­ket de­mand

need to mar­ket the prod­ucts of the re­gion on a na­tional and in­ter­na­tional level.

Kota Di­vi­sion has abun­dant op­por­tu­ni­ties in the ar­eas of soy­abean, co­rian­der, cit­rus and seed spices. Even though there is im­mense pro­duc­tion in the state for th­ese crops, the fields of pro­duc­tion, pro­cess­ing and value ad­di­tion need more in­vest­ment and in­no­va­tion.

Di­rec­tor, In­dia and Asia Sub­con­ti­nent, US Soy­bean Ex­port Coun­cil, Ratan K Sharma high­lighted the busi­ness po­ten­tial of soy food pro­cess­ing in In­dia. He said that soy is the world’s lead­ing food crop to feed both peo­ple and live­stock as due to its fea­tures like low cost and high qual­ity.

Event also fetched in­vest­ment in soy food pro­cess­ing sec­tor. The State gov­ern­ment signed a MoU worth Rs. 112.50 crore with Shiv Health Foods LLP for set­ting up a project for man­u­fac­ture of high qual­ity soy proteins.

Chakresh Jain of Bunge In­dia gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on the po­ten­tial for growth of mus­tard rape­seed in Ra­jasthan. He said that the soil-wa­ter com­bi­na­tion is well suited for the growth of this crop. How­ever, the farm­ers are shift­ing to other crops due to more prof­itabil­ity and pro­duc­tiv­ity. There is need for in­crease in the yield of mus­tard which is cru­cial for In­dia’s food se­cu­rity and farm­ers’ well be­ing, he added.

Min­is­ter of Wa­ter Resources, Indira Gandhi Canal Project Com­mand Area Development and Wa­ter Uti­liza­tion, Gov­ern­ment of Ra­jasthan, Ram Pratap said that wa­ter in Kota Di­vi­sion is not be­ing uti­lized op­ti­mally. Thus, there is an im­mense need for to ex­plore var­i­ous sci­en­tific tech­niques to fa­cil­i­tate wa­ter ef­fi­ciency.

Prin­ci­pal Sci­en­tist (Hor­ti­cul­ture), Cen­tral Cit­rus Re­search In­sti­tute, Nagpur, AD Huchche said that cit­rus is third most im­por­tant crop in In­dia after ba­nana and mango. He sug­gested sev­eral so­lu­tions to prob­lems like weed man­age­ment, in­sect pest prob­lem, wa­ter con­ser­va­tion, man­age­ment of cit­rus cankers, causal fac­tors of cit­rus de­cline, among oth­ers.

Agri Tourism

Agri tourism is a sus­tain­able mul­ti­fac­eted growth en­gine which pro­vides eco­nomic, so­cial and en­vi­ron­ment re­turns. At a ses­sion on ‘Pro­mot­ing Agri Tourism in Kota Re­gion,’ pol­icy makers, ex­perts and agri tourism en­trepreneurs dis­cussed the po­ten­tial of ru­ral tourism in the State es­pe­cially in Kota Di­vi­sion

“Agri tourism can be done with the most ba­sic el­e­ments preva­lent in a farmer’s daily life. A har­mo­nious blend of tra­di­tional food, com­fort­able ac­com­mo­da­tion, en­ter­tain­ing farm ac­tiv­i­ties as well as mar­ket­ing through the right chan­nels can open up am­ple av­enues for Agri Tourism in the Di­vi­sion,” said Yoonus Khan, Se­nior Min­is­ter, Gov­ern­ment of Ra­jasthan

“Agri tourism is not just for the ben­e­fit of the farm­ers but also es­sen­tial for the sus­tain­abil­ity of the en­tire vil­lage. Farm tours, farm stays, serv­ing tra­di­tional food, in­volv­ing tourists in farm ac­tiv­i­ties can be fa­cil­i­tated for the vis­i­tors,” ‘said Pan­durangTaware, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Agri Tourism Development Com­pany Pvt. Ltd

Ram Pratap Min­is­ter of Wa­ter Resources, Ra­jasthan Wa­ter in Kota Di­vi­sion is not be­ing uti­lized op­ti­mally. Thus, there is an im­mense need for to ex­plore var­i­ous sci­en­tific tech­niques to fa­cil­i­tate wa­ter ef­fi­ciency

(ATDC).

Vi­gyan Gado­dia, Di­rec­tor, Sa­haj Agro­farm In­dia, ex­plained that agri tourism is a set of pro­grammes and ac­tiv­i­ties which al­low the host farm­ers to of­fer leisure, learn­ing, en­ter­tain­ment and spir­i­tual ser­vices to tourists in an eco­nom­i­cally prof­itable man­ner. He em­pha­sized that be­cause Kota re­gion is a wa­ter rich veg­etable grow­ing belt it is most at­trac­tive to this form of tourism. Fur­ther­more, the Delhi Mum­bai In­dus­trial Cor­ri­dor Project (DMIC) presents a great mar­ket­ing op­por­tu­nity for the farm­ers to at­tract more tourists to their farms.

An­i­mal Hus­bandry

Se­nior of­fi­cials of the State gov­ern­ment show­cased the po­ten­tial in Kota re­gion for an­i­mal hus­bandry and re­lated busi­nesses. The Di­vi­sion has a sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence in the an­i­mal hus­bandry sec­tor with 6 per­cent of to­tal live­stock of the State and over 500 an­i­mal hus­bandry in­sti­tutes. Th­ese in­sti­tutes in­clude poly­clin­ics, and first grade vet­eri­nary hos­pi­tals, among oth­ers and ac­counts for 8 per­cent of the to­tal es­tab­lish­ments of the State.

The Re­gion is also en­gaged in dairy pro­duc­tion. The over­all avail­abil­ity of milk in the Di­vi­sion is quite high. How­ever, the or­ga­nized level of procurement is cur­rently low. This Di­vi­sion has an im­mensely high de­mand for milk con­sid­er­ing the large stu­dent pop­u­la­tion. Thus, there are am­ple in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in an in­te­grated dairy pro­cess­ing op­er­a­tion for value added dairy prod­ucts like cheese, but­ter, yo­gurt, among oth­ers.

There is also scope for im­prov­ing yields of the two in­dige­nous cat­tle breeds namely, Gir and Malvi which are known for their milk prow­ess and pro­duc­tion of A2 type milk. It is to be noted that there is also suf­fi­cient need for im­prov­ing the breeds of the cat­tle through tech­niques like ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion and cross breed­ing of species.

Fur­ther in­vest­ments was also sought for set­ting up fer­til­ity camps or clin­ics as well as train­ing cen­ters for dairy farm­ers. There are also prospects for improvement in cold chain through set­ting up more col­lec­tion points as well as es­tab­lish­ment of bulk milk cool­ers.

The Ex­hi­bi­tion

The ex­hi­bi­tion at the 3-day GRAM saw the par­tic­i­pa­tion of var­i­ous pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies. Spread over a to­tal area of whop­ping 7,800 square me­ters, the ex­hi­bi­tion was one of the main fea­tures of the mega event. It show­cased avail­able mod­ern tech­nolo­gies and equip­ment in agri­cul­ture, agro pro­cess­ing and live­stock sec­tor suit­able to do­mes­tic re­quire­ments. The ex­hi­bi­tion pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for early to mid-stage agritech com­pa­nies and agri-star­tups to show­case their in­no­va­tions to do­mes­tic and global agribusi­ness au­di­ence, farm­ers, tech­nol­ogy in­te­gra­tors and in­vestors.

Ex­hi­bi­tions stalls were set up on var­i­ous cat­e­gories like farm ma­chin­ery and al­lied ser­vices, agri­in­puts and pro­tected cul­ti­va­tion as well as ir­ri­ga­tion, plas­ti­cul­ture and pre­ci­sion farm­ing.

One of the ma­jor high­lights of the ex­po­si­tion was the In­no­va­tion and Startup Pav­il­ion which served as a plat­form for pre­sent­ing in­dige­nous prod­ucts de­vel­oped by Ra­jasthan’s farm­ers and agri­en­trepreneurs.

The farm­ers were very keen in learn­ing var­i­ous tech­niques like high pro­duc­tion through Green House and Shade Net House, un­sea­son­able farm­ing through Poly House, wa­ter con­ser­va­tion tech­niques un­der Mukhya­mantri Jal Swavlam­ban Ab­hiyan.

The event con­cluded with a very promis­ing note. Malaysia was the part­ner coun­try for the event. Malaysian High Commissioner in In­dia, Hi­dayat Bin Ab­dul Hamid stressed on the need for the new gen­er­a­tions to be fo­cused on agri­cul­ture sec­tor for a holis­tic development. He hoped for the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Malaysia in the fast-eco­nomic progress of Ra­jasthan and iden­tify key ar­eas for in­vest­ment in the State. The State would or­gan­ise two more GRAM in 2017 to cover all the farm­ers of Ra­jasthan.

Yoonus Khan Se­nior Min­is­ter, Ra­jasthan A har­mo­nious blend of tra­di­tional food, com­fort­able ac­com­mo­da­tion, en­ter­tain­ing farm ac­tiv­i­ties as well as mar­ket­ing through the right chan­nels can open up am­ple av­enues for Agri Tourism

L-R Ra­jasthan Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Prabhu Lal Saini, Union Min­is­ter M Venka­iah Naidu & Ra­jasthan CM Va­sund­hara Raje

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