Experts from India and Netherlands discussed ways of packaging technology to create an ecosystem for farmers to work and then upscale it further for economic gains at the Smart Farming Session of the DST CII Tech Summit.
The 25th joint annual flagship DST-CII Technology Summit deliberated on Smart Farming as a farming management concept using modern technological collaboration opportunities between India and the Netherlands.
The distinguished panel included speakers from both Indian Agriculture allied Industries and from Ministry of Agriculture, The Netherlands.
The experts highlighted how Smart Farming increases the quantity and quality of agricultural products with sustainable agricultural production, based on a more precise and resource- efficient approach through efficient use of water or optimization of treatment and inputs.
The findings of ‘Water Extensive Agriculture Project (Phase I) report’ was presented business opportunities identified across India that will endeavor to connect Dutch technologies in Water and Agriculture with opportunities in water stressed climate zone across India.
Mr. Frederik Vossenar Special Envoy, Agri-Business Development, Ministry of Agriculture, The Netherlands mentioned that the Netherlands has itself faced several droughts over last years and availability of water is a huge problem faced by both India and the Netherlands. He highlighted that by 2030 there will be more demand of water than supply and that there is an urgency to prepare for it.
Mr. Nirmallya Mandal from Wapp Systems (I) Pvt Ltd said that Dutch technology needs to find relevance in Indian context. Through his report he said that the Water Extensive Agriculture Project is about enhancing water use efficiency and conserving water by adopting conservation techniques. He also pointed out that ten water stressed districts have been identified in India.
Mr Mandal highlighted that implementation of technologies depended on the quality of the technology, better governance, enabling policies and on the market.
He stressed on high enabling technology is the need of the hour and talked about fields of opportunities that could be improved through Dutch Technology namely like production of fruits, exotic vegetables, spices and floriculture.
He said that Dutch have a pool of experts and they have implementing agencies who can mobilize farmers using a multi technological multi stakeholder approach in dealing with the problem areas.
Mr. Pratap, Co-Founder aQysta talked about their surface water technology which improves water use efficiency as well as energy efficiency. He mentioned about their canal to drip irrigation system already in place in the Netherlands and said that their technology needs to be contextualized in Indian context.
Representative of Jain Irrigation Systems, Sangita Ladha, stressed on the importance of management of water. She talked about ‘More Crop per Drop’ through higher water usage efficiency. With the help of technologies like Small Automation, Remote Sensing with all kinds of sensors like volume sensors, pressure sensors.
Mr. Prashant Pastore, Business Developer Head-Water Solidarid suggested verticalisation of farming, precision farming, and development of quality PPP models between India & Dutch with transfer of technology and IOT based technology.
Head-Agribusiness LT foods, Mr. Ashutosh Kumar Sinha, said that using technique of remote sensing to predict water usage and connecting individual pumps to remote sensors in the future could tell how much water is required for specific crops and use of this technology could help farmers save about 25-30% of water currently being used. He added that water stress is not only when you have less water but is also when you have lot of water.
Mr. Hein Molenkamp, MD Water Alliance suggested picking up of rainwater and using it directly as drinking water for cattle and crops. He explained how in the Netherlands waste water from houses is collected and treated to make biogas and biological sulphur. He said that we should focus on the term of Circular Economy rather than being closed economies and urged to make small steps to achieve the goal.
The experts talked about the need of teaming up of India and the Netherlands to make projects to solve the water crisis in agriculture.