Global machinery standardization will help feed the world

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More than 100 global agriculture machinery manufacturers, government officials and other industry leaders participated in the Agrievolution Alliance Summit in New Delhi, India, to consider "Global Food Security and Farm Machinery and World Farm Machinery Industry."

The tenor at the Dec. 5-6, 2013 summit was “expectant, determined, and hopeful,” according to organizers. 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.

Expressing a concern heard in many 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.

“Global markets are increasing by 5-10 percent (annually) which is a very strong trend," said Alain Savary, the general manager of the French machinery association, AXEMA. Reports and other material from the summit are posted at www.agrievolution.com.

To more efficiently feed the world, pursuit of consistent global equipment manufacturing standards are necessary. 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, "Different regulations in important global markets create manufacturing inefficiency and reduce companies’ productivity. When we have regulations at variance, the problems for manufacturers can hurt our effectiveness," Kolb said.

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.

Avinash Kuma Srivastava, with the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, India, said, "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.”

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.

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.

The summit 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.


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