Huge Potential for Farm Mechanisation
SMART AGRIPOST in a chat with Ashwin Gohil, Chairman, Tirth Agro Technology Pvt Ltd, (Shaktiman), manufacturer of agricultural tools and machines, finds out about the products of the company, its emergence as the leading agricultural implements manufacturer in the country, the scope of mechanization of agriculture in India among others.
Q. Please tell us about Shaktiman Group and its products for agriculture sector.
Ans. We are the World’s Largest Manufacturer of Rotary Tiller and the leading Indian agricultural implements manufacturer having more than 17 products in our product range, covering the entire crop cycle. Over the years the company has effectively fulfilled the needs of customers with support of vast dealership network of more than 700 dealers. “Shaktiman” brand is synonymous with agricultural implements sector and boasts of more than 20 years of leadership throughout India and has captured market leadership position in a span of 10 years. We export world class agriculture implements to more than 80 countries.
Q. What is the uniqueness of your product line?
Ans. Our Product and Brand has been admired for technological superiority, quality assurance and increasing credibility among its customers. We are selling farm solution concept not products, because our team provides complete solution and support to farmers like, how to use, where to use and when to use. Being an Indian manufacturer we have introduced customized products which suit our farmers, first to do so in the country.
Q. What is the scope of farm mechanization in India?
Ans. India offers many favorable factors as far as agriculture is concerned. We are one of the world’s largest tractor selling market, we top world ranking in production of many crops, 2nd largest in the fertilizer consumption in the world and availability of farming land. But, why is our yield very low compared to other countries? The answer probably lies in Low Mechanization, so there is huge potential and big opportunity for Farm Mechanization in India. Each and every crop in India needs new implements. We do seed bed preparation, spraying, planting, crop management, harvesting, crop residue management and so on, hence there is so many opportunities for mechanization. We have seen USA or Europe using so many implements since the 50 years, now they are moving towards computerized hi-tech machines. India needs just primary and new implements and being an Indian manufacturer, we have Indianised products across all ranges.
Q. What is your view on custom hiring centers?
Ans. The custom hiring is a very big initiative by the Government, because some of the products are very costly and farmers cannot afford them. The government gives good support to the farmer to hire high-end equipment and the small farmers also can use high-end machineries at a low price like a taxi where the farmer hires the equipment and implements on an hourly basis.
Q.Is the small land holdings of Indian farmers an obstacle in farm mechanization?
Ans. No, it is not. There are many farmers with small land holdings in the country, but even in countries like Japan and China there are many farmers with having small farm holdings but they use high-tech implements. It is not necessary to have big lands. There are also many types of equipment for small, medium and very small lands. The small farmers can use these implements. I think when we talk about land holding, we should also look at the total holding of a family. As an individual, one may have one hector or two hectors but when we calculate as a whole family, they may have 10 hectors or 20 hectors.
Q. Internet of Things (IoT) in agriculture is coming up in a big way. Does your company plan to integrate IT with the equipment?
Ans. Yes, some of the machines we are manufacturing like sugarcane harvester are linked with the GPS system. It is required but for mechanical equipment I think it is not required right now. Of course, there are so many international players in Europe and United States of America where they are using that type of technologies. It is very difficult in India and not affordable for Indian farmers at this point of time.
Q. It is observed that youths are not interested in agriculture. Do you think technology will help encourage youth to adopt agriculture? What do you think?
Ans. Yes, right now I think a farmer’s son doesn’t want to go for farming. This is a big challenge, because there are so many challenges in the farming now a days. However, I think the trend is changing fast. Government is giving good support in terms of subsidy and custom hiring. Young entrepreneurs are also taking up agriculture. Agriculture still remains a big challenge because of uncertainty of rain and the price of crops. But slowly it will also improve.
Q. Many people say farm mechanization will lead to unemployment in rural areas. People will lose their jobs. What is your view in this regard?
Ans. No, see, right now it is not like that, when you ask people in a village, they are not interested in low class labor. They don’t want to work in the field as a laborer. They prefer to work as a security guard or work inside a factory under the roof. The weather is very harsh in India and labor class is moving towards urban area, hence I don’t think this is a big concern, rather we have now big opportunity for farm mechanization.