Agricultural Engineering Division of ICAR and ICAR-Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Bhopal jointly organized a Brainstorming Workshop on “Mechanization in Production Agricultural Systems: Challenges and Opportunities” on 12th September 2018 at NASC, New Delhi. The purpose of the workshop was to disseminate information about already developed engineering technologies and in prioritizing the researchable issues for engineering interventions. It also highlighted the need for collaborative efforts between institutions and industries involved in the development of engineering technologies. More than 70 participants from different fields such as Research Engineers from ICAR Institutes, State Agricultural Universities and Engineers and officials working in government and semi-government organizations, and farm equipment and tractors manufacturers participated in the workshop.
The inaugural session of the workshop started under the chairmanship of Dr. T. Mohapatra, Secretary, DARE & Director General, ICAR, New Delhi. The workshop started with the welcome address delivered by Dr. K Alagusundaram, Deputy Director General (Agril. Engg.), ICAR, New Delhi. He highlighted the need for bringing together researchers, academia and industries to work together in the area of farm mechanization to address the need of the Indian farmers and also heightened the need for the development of automated cost effective farm implements and machinery to reduce the drudgery of agricultural workers. It was followed by remarks about the workshop by Dr. KK Singh, Director, ICAR-CIAE, Bhopal. He informed the purpose of the workshop. He highlighted the need to collaborate with all stakeholders for mechanization of Indian agriculture. He also emphasized the need to develop sensors based technologies to enhance the productivity and efficiency of the farm machinery. It was followed by an address by Dr. AK Singh, Deputy Director General (HS/CS), ICAR, New Delhi. He highlighted the need for reducing post-harvest losses particularly during the harvesting operation. He also emphasized to make efforts for research, development and adoption of horticultural tools and implements for mechanization of horticultural crops.
Dr. T. Mohapatra, Secretary, DARE & Director General, ICAR, New Delhi highlighted the need for going for innovation in the development of need-based farm equipment and machinery. He also highlighted that mechanization is the need of the hour and this option is acceptable to address the burning of paddy straw management at national level. He emphasized the need for crop-wise mechanization gaps analysis and make efforts to address the issues of researchers and industry together. He also suggested to have a mechanization portal with details of equipment developed by different organizations in India.
The Technical Session – I on “Horticultural & Small Farm Mechanization” was held under the chairmanship of Dr. AK Singh, DDG (HS/CS), ICAR, New Delhi and co-chaired by Dr. KK Singh, Director, ICAR-CIAE, Bhopal. The session started with the lead presentation on “Challenges and Opportunities of Farm Mechanization for Field and Horticultural Crops” by Dr. CR Mehta, Project Coordinator, AICRP on FIM, ICAR-CIAE, Bhopal. It was followed by a presentation by VST Tillers & Tractors Ltd., Bengaluru and Falcon Garden Tools, Ludhiana on approaches to small farm mechanization.
The Technical Session-II on “Challenges and Opportunities of Farm Mechanization” was held under the chairmanship of Shri Mukul Varshney, Vice President, M/s John Deere Pvt. Ltd., Pune and co-chaired by Dr. Kanchan Kumar Singh, ADG (FE), ICAR, New Delhi. In this session, three presentations related to mechanization of Indian agriculture, farm machinery manufacturing and recent development in tractor industry were held from Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Chennai, International Tractors Ltd, Noida, and AMMA India.
The Technical Session-III on “Futuristic high tech mechanization (drones, artificial intelligence, automation, robotics etc.) was held under the chairmanship of Dr. K Alagusundaram, DDG (Agril. Engg.), ICAR, New Delhi and co-chaired by Dr. CR Mehta, Project Coordinator, AICRP on FIM, ICAR-CIAE, Bhopal. In this session, three presentations including two presentations from industries were held related to the application of sensors, UAV, AI, IOT in Agriculture and emerging technologies for improving farm productivity and cost reduction for farmers. The following recommendations emerged from the discussion during the workshop:
• A working group on Agricultural Mechanization may be formed involving office bearers of ICAR, DoAC&FW, Industry, SAUs and progressive farmers.
• Interface meetings may be organized more frequently between R&D institutes and industry.
• The research prototypes developed at institutes should be multiplied, tested at multi-location trials and the final prototype should be commercialized with the involvement of industry.
• The research Institutes and industry may work at specific mechanization problems since the inception of the project for faster commercialization of developed equipment.
• There is a need to develop improved farm tools and equipment for mechanization of vegetables and fruits grown in the country.
• The industry may be associated with the development of sensors for automation of farm machinery in India.
• ICAR pursue with DoAC&FW for the opening of more testing centers of agricultural machinery.