‘As fewer peo­ple want to work in farms, tech adop­tion will hap­pen’

Yield will also in­crease, says John Deere In­dia MD

The Hindu - - BUSINESS - Lala­tendu Mishra

John Deere In­dia, the wholly owned sub­sidiary of Amer­i­can multi­na­tional Deere & Com­pany, which man­u­fac­tures and sells trac­tors, har­vesters and im­ple­ments in In­dia, is fo­cus­ing on re­pres­sion tech­nol­ogy to grow its base. The firm’s MD Satish Nadiger says the com­pany is poised for faster growth. Ex­cerpts:

Are you sat­is­fied with your per­for­mance in In­dia?

One can never be sat­is­fied in per­for­mance. In the last 3-4 years, we are grow­ing very well. There were times when we did not do well in the early years when the in­dus­try went down and when we did not have all the prod­ucts needed for the mar­ket. But now, we have the right prod­uct of­fer­ing start­ing from 20 HP to 120 HP. Now, we think we can grow faster.

Your next 20-year hori­zon?

We will grow at much faster rate than the past 20 years. We want to make sure that we are of­fer­ing the right tech­nol­ogy for our cus­tomers. We have been the tech­nol­ogy lead­ers and that is some­thing we want to be al­ways. We will of­fer the right tech­nol­ogy at the right price. We want to be know known as tech­nol­ogy lead­ers of­fer­ing in­no­va­tive prod­ucts to paddy and potato farm­ers in In­dia. We want to grow at much faster pace.

Apart from trac­tors, im­ple­ments, har­vesters what other kinds of equip­ment are you likely to in­tro­duce?

We are into ev­ery­thing, from land prepa­ra­tion to har­vest­ing. We have in­tro­duced balers for post har­vest. We have har­vesters for paddy, wheat and all other small grains. We are look­ing at pro­vid­ing so­lu­tions to our cus­tomers which means they have the right im­ple­ments that will pro­vide more value to them. So, we can bring in more pre­ci­sion im­ple­ments where the depth and spac­ing are taken care of.

What is the fu­ture of farm­ing in In­dia?

■ Tech­nol­ogy adop­tion will hap­pen, be­cause we see labour avail­abil­ity is go­ing down, par­tic­u­larly for farm­ing. To­day, peo­ple do not want to do this hard labour in farms. So, we do ex­pect mech­a­ni­sa­tion to go to the next level which is be­yond trac­tors. And, we will look for more and more tech­nol­ogy adop­tion. The yield will go up. Farm­ers will go for di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion into dairy, veg­eta­bles, or­chards and this is the way farm­ers’ in­come can be augmented.

We do ex­pect mech­a­ni­sa­tion to go to the next level, which is be­yond trac­tors

Is there scope for con­tract farm­ing in In­dia?

There are some big con­trac­tors in Pun­jab and other places. In the rest of In­dia, it is yet to pick up at a fast pace. Con­tract farm­ing is still 10 years away.

There have been dis­cus­sions on emis­sion norms and their likely im­pact….

It is go­ing to be chal­leng­ing for the farm­ers, be­cause the prices will go up for trac­tors above 50 HP from April 2021. Com­mon rail tech­nol­ogy will make prod­ucts ex­pen­sive.

What is your ex­pan­sion plan in In­dia?

We al­ready have ca­pac­ity to pro­duce 1,32,000 trac­tors. So, in the next cou­ple of years, we will in­vest as we grow. I will not be able to give any ex­act num­bers now.

What is your in­vest­ment road map?

We are con­tin­u­ously in­vest­ing in In­dia. We have in­creased our pro­duc­tion from 30,000 trac­tors to one lakh trac­tors. Now, we are also in­vest­ing in our en­gine ca­pac­ity to aug­ment trac­tor pro­duc­tion. For ex­ports, we are getting more and more prod­ucts from our main base which could be man­u­fac­tured out of In­dia.

It helps us ex­port more out of In­dia and it is also help­ing us in getting newer tech­nolo­gies to In­dia, which we are con­tin­u­ously do­ing. Some of the trac­tors man­u­fac­tured here are high-end and are ex­ported to Europe where cus­tomers are very de­mand­ing. If we can be suc­cess­ful in those mar­kets, we can be suc­cess­ful any­where.

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