UPLB, India in talks on agri-mechanization

UPLB and the Embassy of India in Manila organized an online summit on Nov. 23 to promote agriculture mechanization technology for increased farm productivity and food security for both countries.

The summit had the theme “Opportunities for India-Philippines Industry-Academe Linkages Towards Food Security in the Philippines” and gathered speakers from UPLB, agriculture government agencies and the mechanization industry from both India and the Philippines.

In his welcome address, Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr. recognized India’s intensified efforts to invest in technology and innovation in response to food security issues and acknowledged their being one of the largest producers of tractors globally.

He highlighted the occasion as an opportunity for both nations to share their experiences and discuss mutually beneficial collaboration.

“UPLB is eager to collaborate with our Indian partners on the improvement of agricultural mechanization in the country, as well as on technological integration in farming methods and equipment,” he said.

TR Kesavan, chairman of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry National Agriculture Committee, highlighted issues in food security and production where the Philippines and India can collaborate.

These include fragmented and limited agricultural land and the intervention of middlemen in the distribution of agricultural products.

Ramon S. Batasing, Jr., ambassador of the Philippines to India, highlighted the potential of the summit to open limitless opportunities for food security and self-sufficiency in the Philippines.

Shambhu S. Kumaran, ambassador of India to the Philippines, identified food security, climate change, and the impact of information and digital technology as the main issues in agriculture today.

He emphasized the participation of the youth and the use of modern technology as important drivers of progress and development in agriculture.

The summit’s keynote speaker, Secretary William D. Dar of the Department of Agriculture, recognized the online summit as an opportunity between the two countries to work together and advance both nations’ progress and welfare in food security and identify needed changes to the countries’ farming systems.

The summit’s ten presenters included representatives from Philippine government agencies and Indian industrial companies.

From the Philippines, these included the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, and the Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers and Distributors Association.

The speakers from India included representatives from Escorts Agri Machinery, VST Tractors and Tiller India, Ecozen Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Green Robot Machinery Pvt. Ltd., and Harbest Agribiz Corporation.

Dr. Ronel S. Pangan and Dr. Arthur L. Fajardo, both from the College of Engineering and Agro-industrial Technology (CEAT), were two of the five representatives from the Philippines. They discussed each of their Centers’ role in implementing the rules and regulations of the Agricultural and Fisheries Mechanization Law and their research and development initiatives in agriculture mechanization.

Dr. Pangan, director of the UPLB Center for Agri-fisheries and Biosystems Mechanization (BIOMECH-CEAT), identified areas of collaboration between BIOMECH and India such as exchange of knowledge,  experts, and prototypes, training of personnel, research, and providing technical assistance on possible models on joint venture agreements with local manufacturers.

Dr. Fajardo, director of the UPLB Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Center (AMTEC), presented AMTEC’s services as the national testing center of agricultural and fisheries machinery in the country.

Nishikant Singh, first secretary for economic and commerce of the Embassy of India, ended the program with a vote of thanks to the organizers and participants of the program.

A replay of the summit is available on the UPLB Facebook Page . (Jessa Jael S. Arana)

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