Agriculture Skill Council of India (ASCI) – the Sector Skill Council on Agriculture, organized the first Farm Mechanization Skill Advisory Meeting which saw participation from the Department of Agriculture, ICAR, CIAE, CII, FICCI, PSSCIVE, Tractor Manufacturers’ Association, Tillers Manufacturers’ Association, Harvesters Manufacturers’ Association, Agriculture Machinery Manufacturers’ Association, Industry & Training Institutes. The meeting was presided by Shri Ashwani Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture. Discussions were held to channelize the skill development efforts taken up in silos by Government, Industry and the Training Institutions and to work synergistically to bring about the desired outcome in the Farm Mechanization sector.
Agricultural machinery market in India is estimated to grow at a CAGR of over 10 percent during the period 2013-18. Currently, the Indian market is dominated by 1500 micro units, 2500 small scale units and 250 medium sized companies. Although India is the largest manufacturer of tractors in the world, accounting for one-third of the global production, farm mechanization in India is still at a nascent stage, with the average farm power availability in the country lower than in countries such as Korea, Japan and the US.
Currently, rapid urbanization, growing population and growth of other sectors promising employment is impacting the farm productivity. Use of proper equipment can increase the farm productivity by up-to 30 percent and reduce the input cost by about 20 per cent. Given the right focus from various stake holders, farm mechanization has the potential to play a critical role in increasing farm productivity and improving rural employment generation.
Dr. Satender Arya, CEO, Agriculture Skill Council of India, shared an overview of the skill development efforts undertaken by ASCI and the focus of skilling youth and enhancing employment opportunities. He emphasized on the support and commitment required from various stakeholders in making the sector aspirational to raise the self esteem of people associated with it and curb the rural migration taking the support of various government schemes viz. PMKVY, DDUGKY etc. He also deliberated on the development of National Occupational Standards to give a headway to standardized training programs across the nation.
The meeting brought the convergence of industry- CLAAS, Escort, John Deere, Mahindra & Mahindra, New Holland, CNH, TAFE etc which emboldened the launch of skill certified program and deliberated on establishing a pull factor model for the rural youth where the skill development would lead to gainful employment.
The discussion also revolved around conducting Skill Gap Study in the Farm Mechanization segment and the requirement of the Training Centres. The industry also thrust on the need of reskilling and upskilling in the sector. The discussion also highlighted the importance of the entrepreneurship based Job Roles given the sector being highly unorganized.
Given the huge opportunities associated with the sector, Shri Ashwani Kumar, JS- Dept of Agriculture called for concerted efforts from various stakeholders to bring about the desired change paving the way for enhanced opportunities for the rural youth and boosting the productivity of the nation as a whole.