VC stresses transforming traditional agriculture into profit-oriented business entities
Srinagar: SKUAST Kashmir Friday held a daylong industry interface with more than 10 reputed agri-tech industrialists of the country.
The interface between the university’s College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology (CoAE&T) and industry was the first of a series of such events being organised by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Cell in collaboration with FICCI under the World Bank-ICAR funded National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) for the institutional development of SKUAST-K.
The aim of the industry interaction series organised together by the College of Agri-engineering and Technology (SKUAST-K) and FICCI is to work with various industrial partners for creating the knowledge-based and technology-driven agri-economy for Jammu and Kashmir, which has more than 70% population dependent on agriculture and its allied sectors.
Today’s event with the industrialists was organised to create an ecosystem of symbiotic relationship with the irrigation and drainage associated industries.
Vice-Chancellor, SKUAST-K, Prof JP Sharma, who was the chief guest of the occasion, talked about the importance of such interaction with the industry so that the gap between the industrial requirement and academia can be minimised. He stressed that mechanisation should be regional and crop-specific, particularly when the landholding size is shrinking, and water resources are dwindling at both the UT level and national level. He highlighted the need for transformation of the traditional agricultural system from a ‘way to life’ into a dynamic profit-oriented business entity.
Director Planning and PI NAHEP, Prof Nazir Ahmad Ganai, talked about the idea of making the industry our stakeholders for mutual interests. He observed that skilled human capital and innovations are the important determinants for the growth of the industries. Working with industries, SKUASTK aims to build an outcome-based education system that shall help the industry in these two endeavours. The collaboration shall make our graduates skilled in new-age technologies, entrepreneurial and industry-ready and increasing their employability for high paid industries.
Associate Dean, CoAE&T, Prof Rohitash Kumar, in his welcome address, presented the outline of the event. He provided a detailed structure of the transferable technologies developed by the college. According to him, the possible areas of collaboration can be hydroponics, aeroponics, renewable energy, protected cultivation, waste management, robotics and automation. HRM consultant, Prof FA Zaki, highlighted the importance of such events in fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
From the industry side, Amit Shukla, Vice president, marketing, Harvel Irrigation India presented a detailed overview of their innovations to increase the water use efficiency. K Mahamulkar, SBU Head, Netafim Irrigation India revealed that the company can help SKUAST-K in enriching course curriculum and developing crop-specific innovative tools. He invited the SKUAST-K to collaborate for the month-long training programme of the final year B.Tech. agricultural engineering students. Dr DN Kulkarni, President Jain Irrigation System emphasized the need for artificial intelligence-based micro-irrigation to cover the undulating topography of Jammu and Kashmir. Sunil Patil, agricultural engineering associated with Finolex Plasson Industries with 26 years of work experience in micro-irrigation and handling about 400 people mentioned that the topography, cropping pattern, agricultural practices and challenges are different in Jammu and Kashmir. He emphasized cutting edge research and integrated approach can help to sail over dwindling water resources, low productivity and unemployability. Madhuri Dixit Ghugari, Director, AgriNext consultancy, stressed that the students must possess thorough knowledge and work on developing their technical and communication skills. Dr Sangita Ladha, Rivulis Irrigation India expressed her willingness to collaborate on multiple aspects. She mentioned that Rivulis has developed a remote sensing-based irrigation water management software based on water budgeting that can be integrated with the newly established centre of remote sensing at SKUAST-K.
Dr M Muzamil, Assistant professor and Shikha Dutta, Assistant Director, FICCI coordinated the activities of the session, while Prof JN Khan presented the vote of thanks.