HIGHLIGHTS FROM GLOBAL AGRICULTURE MACHINERY SUMMIT
Dec. 23, 2013
Source: Agrievolution Alliance Summit news release
More than 100 global agriculture machinery manufacturers, government officials and other industry leaders participated in the Agrievolution Alliance Summit in New Delhi, India, Dec. 5-6, 2013, to consider "Global Food Security and Farm Machinery and World Farm Machinery Industry."
As with all Agrievolution Alliance events, the exchange of critical information was foremost in New Delhi, and the tenor at the summit was expectant, determined, and hopeful. The alliance holds a global summit about every 18 months and this was the fourth World Summit on Agricultural Machinery.
Attendees heard that increased mechanization for productivity is vital in countries such as India, and some speakers went much further, asserting that the effective use of agriculture machinery in developing countries can help reduce poverty, increase income, and improve life expectancy because agriculture machinery is essential for feeding and clothing the world. And, expressing one concern heard in countries around the world, one speaker said that India is concerned about keeping enough younger farmers in agriculture operations.
The summit was hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the largest and oldest apex business organization in India. FICCI has an indirect membership of more than 2,500,000 companies from various regional chambers of commerce in the country and is the first port of call for Indian industry and the international business community.
The 2013 chair of the Agrievolution Alliance is Alain Savary, the general manager of the French machinery association, AXEMA. Savary congratulated delegates on their participation and encouraged attendees to review the reports and other material posted at www.agrievolution.com.
"Improving global food security means participation by machinery manufacturers in the Agrievolution information exchange. The development of the alliance depends on the commitment of the members. Global markets are increasing by 5-10 percent (annually) which is a very strong trend. This means more food security for world populations," Savary said.
Robert A. Kolb, AEM 2013 AG Sector Board chair and 2014 AEM vice chair, as well as vice president, global business development, GEA Farm Technologies, said one important way the Agrievolution Alliance is able to support its members and help to more efficiently feed the world is by pursuing consistent global industry manufacturing standards. "Different regulations in important global markets create manufacturing inefficiencies and reduce a company's productivity. When we have regulations at variance, the problems for manufacturers can hurt our effectiveness."
A vision for machinery improving the quality of life around the world was put forward by Chakib Jenane, the chief of the Agro-Industry Technology Unit, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), who told the international audience that effective use of agriculture machinery on farms can "reduce poverty, increase income and life expectancy, and put human capital to better use.
Feeding nine billion people is only possible with greater mechanization" in countries such as India, Jenane said. Before joining UNIDO, Jenane held the position of professor at the Department of Agricultural Engineering, Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine (Rabat/Morocco).
Avinash Kuma Srivastava, with the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, India, echoed that perspective when he asserted that the Agrievolution Alliance can help his country create a road map to the future by answering many questions concerning food security and farm machinery.
"We are importing lots of Chinese tillers to India. Why can't we produce them? How can we increase our exports? How can we support smaller farmers? Agrievolution can help answer these questions. We have a technical sector - we have excellent training in IT certificates, we have diplomas and engineers. And there is no manpower shortage," said Srivastava. "Can you help us with this?"
J.B. Penn, the chief economist with John Deere, observed that U.S. farmers have been aggressively adopting advances in technology, but that U.S. infrastructure, which is necessary for getting goods to market, is lagging. Brazilian farmers have been "adopting tech like crazy," Brazilian infrastructure has kept pace with this trend, and the U.S. should take note, he added.
T R Kesavan, the chief executive officer for Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited (TAFE), told the audience that "greater population growth is expected in India and other places, and that makes what you make - agriculture equipment - all the more important to India" and other developing areas of the world. Greater mechanizing of Indian agriculture "is critical to food security - helps water management, conservation, and nutrition improvement comes with intelligent tillage," Kesavan said.
Mechanization "reduces use of inputs - it is not everything, but it is one simple way of doing a complicated job," he said. Kesavan represents the agricultural mechanization space at the Indian National Council of Agriculture. He is also the president of Tractor Manufacturing Association of India.
Matt Rushing, vice president, global product management for AGCO Advanced Technology Solutions and Electronics Functional Group, said the "farmer cannot cost-reduce his way to prosperity - you've got to increase yield. Iron is no longer the goal. Farmers are about preparing, planting, harvesting, storing, not just 'tractoring.'" Rushing added that "everyone is a connected asset to something. Everything on farms is a connected asset."
Gerd Wiesendorfer, coordinator of the Agrievolution Alliance Economic Committee and market analyst for VDMA, the German agriculture association, pointed out that benefits of mechanization in Africa allow farmers to plant a crop before the first rain of the season, and so take advantage of the first rain's soil moisture. Without mechanization, these farmers wait to plant until after the first rain, and so lose the additional productivity that comes with earlier planting.
Attendees concurred that the summit was successful. It brought global agriculture leaders together to examine the critical issues of global agriculture to share in open dialog, exchange data, and build relationships. The venue provided an opportunity for leaders to garner information from real in-country sources who have first-hand knowledge of agriculture operations around the world.
The key message to agriculture machinery manufacturers is that because machinery can make the quality of life better through efficiencies and productivity in every country, the demand for cutting-edge technology and new machinery is not going away.
The next Agrievolution Summit will be in Istanbul, Turkey in January 2016. Details will be posted on at www.agrievolution.com.