GUWAHATI, May 17 - The Assam Agricultural University (AAU) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) under World Bank-supported Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project (APART) recently organised a roundtable meeting here on farm mechanisation and post-harvest (PH) technologies with different stakeholders, according to a press release issued here today.
Dr Rupam Borgohain, nodal officer of APART, AAU welcomed the participants and requested all the stakeholders to contribute to prepare a roadmap for mechanisation in Assam.
Dr Martin Gummert, senior scientist, IRRI presented the concept of learning alliance for identifying stakeholders.
Dr Sudhanshu Singh, coordinator South Asia, and project leader of APART-IRRI highlighted the process of widespread adoption of mechanisation-enabled cropping intensification in Assam. Referring to the IRRI learning in Odisha, he pointed out that farm holding of Assam farmers is almost similar and farm mechanisation (FM) may be easily adopted as a business model.
Dr Ashok Bhattacharya, Director of Research of AAU laid stress on preparing a roadmap for large-scale adoption of farm mechanisation in Assam.
Dr Prasanna Pathak of AAU underscored the importance of APART to develop the farm mechanisation scenario in Assam. He emphasised adoption of an integrated and holistic approach by inclusion of FM and PH mechanisation in rice-based cropping system that could lead to crop intensification and increase in system productivity targeting rice fallows and narrow time-window for sowing rabi crops after sali rice harvest.
Dr Nafees Meah, IRRI representative South Asia informed that Assam has great scope for introducing the mechanisation and post-harvest technologies as per need of the small and marginal farmers. He laid emphasis on making the service provider model viable.
Vinod Seshan of ARIAS Society in his address said that in view of shrinking land holdings and disinterest of youths in farming, technologies need to be more result-oriented, readily acceptable to the farmers, economically viable, efficient and sustainable. He expressed concern that farmers have to buy fertilisers at rates that are double the MRP.
As part of the programme, two group discussions on ‘Challenges and opportunities on farm mechanisation and post-harvest technologies’ and ‘Requirement of changes in different policies for promotion of farm mechanisation and post-harvest technologies’ were organised where scientist from IRRI AAU, officials from ARIAS Society, Department of Agriculture, Assam, representatives from machinery manufacturers, service providers, dealers, etc., took part, the release added.