Digital Infrastructure Key to Agricultural Innovation and Empowerment, Says Agriculture Secretary

Feb 28, 2024 Mark

India, Feb 28, 2024: Mr. Manoj Ahuja, Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, underscored the pivotal role of digital infrastructure in driving agricultural innovation and empowerment during his address at the national conclave of FICCI ‘Viksit Bharat@2047’ yesterday. He outlined a bold vision for harnessing digital technologies to transform India’s agricultural sector, emphasizing the necessity of a robust digital ecosystem to uplift farmers and stakeholders across the agricultural value chain.

In his speech, Mr. Ahuja highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships in leveraging digital technologies to tackle agricultural challenges and unlock new avenues for growth. He stressed the significance of risk management, research and development (R&D) in developing climate-resilient seeds, and sustainable agricultural practices to maintain productivity while prioritizing environmental conservation.

Encouraging collaboration and innovation, Mr. Ahuja envisioned a prosperous future for Indian agriculture, ensuring sustained progress for future generations.

Ms. Alka Upadhyaya, Secretary of the Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Government of India, emphasized the substantial contribution of the livestock sector to agriculture, accounting for approximately 30 percent of the sector’s output. She noted that India has emerged as a global dairy hub, with about 25 percent of the world’s milk supply originating from the country. Ms. Upadhyaya called for identifying opportunities for value addition in livestock products and advocating increased investment in processing infrastructure to enhance the quality and competitiveness of Indian livestock products in domestic and international markets.

Dr. Ashok Gulati, Distinguished Professor at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), emphasized the importance of boosting productivity, diversifying to high-value crops, capturing key export markets, and adding value to agricultural products. He highlighted the role of digital infrastructure in creating a seamless system for farmers to access nationwide markets.

Mr. Rajeev Chawla, Chief Knowledge Officer and Advisor (Digital Agriculture) at the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare, Government of India, discussed the development of AgriStack, a digital infrastructure akin to Aadhaar, aimed at providing essential farmer details, including land ownership and crop information.

Ms. Aparna Bijapurkar, Managing Director and Partner at BCG, stressed the significance of risk capital in supporting farmers and value chain players to address challenges in the agricultural sector.

Mr. Hemant Sikka, Co-Chair of FICCI National Agriculture Committee and President – Farm Equipment at Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, highlighted India’s position as the largest tractor market globally and emphasized the need for innovation and growth in the agricultural sector.

Mr. Kaushal Jaiswal, Co-Chair of FICCI National Agriculture Committee and Managing Director of Rivulis Irrigation India Pvt Ltd, discussed the challenges posed by climate change in agriculture and its impact on productivity.

Mr. Ravindra K Agrawal, Promoter Chairman of KisanKraft, called for liberalizing agriculture sector regulations to drive growth and increase farmer income.

Mr. Yogesh Thorat, Managing Director of Maha Farmers Producers Company Ltd. (MAHAAFPC), emphasized the importance of strengthening Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) through public-private partnerships to support agricultural value chains.

The remarks from these esteemed speakers underscored the urgent need for leveraging digital infrastructure and fostering collaboration to propel India’s agricultural sector towards sustainable growth and prosperity.

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CATEGORIES : Business Government


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