Creating a sustainable future demands the collective effort and collaboration of various stakeholders across sectors. While commercial commuter and passenger vehicles always face the eye of the storm from environmentalists who constantly call for cleaner energy, many industries need to align their practices and operations to the clean energy movement for sustainability and better outcomes; one of them is agriculture.

With tractors and payloads, heavy-duty ridgers, and other work and transport vehicles used on farms, agriculture and other food systems is a major contributor to global warming. In fact, agriculture and food systems, including farming practices, land use, crop and livestock production, energy consumption, and food consumption, collectively accounted for 31 per cent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

This is enormous and creates a gap for adopting more renewable energy-powered equipment and vehicles on farms. Electric vehicles, for instance, can play a major role in cutting down carbon emissions in the agri sector and create a safer, cleaner, and climate-conscious industry.

Sustainability: The role of EVs in India

The surge in electric vehicle registration in India in recent years is occasioned by several factors, including the need to cut down on carbon emissions and the quest for a sustainable feature. Within the Indian agricultural space, which 70 per cent of its rural population depends on and makes up 15 per cent of the nation’s GDP, there is a growing consciousness about the impact of conventional vehicles and equipment powered by fossil fuels.

For example, there are electric tractors available that can perform the same tasks as conventional ones, including crop spraying, mowing, and harvesting, provided the appropriate attachments are used. Electric tractors operate emission-free, thus posing no threat to the environment. However, they often remain inaccessible to smallholder farmers in India and other regions worldwide.

Ensuring access to electric vehicles for farmers is a responsibility that falls on both the Indian government and development partners, who must offer support and incentives. Facilitating the availability of these vehicles and equipment is crucial.

The significance of such initiatives lies in the potential to decrease supply chain costs in agriculture by up to 70% through the adoption of electric vehicles. Moreover, when integrated with the Internet of Things (IoT), these EVs and machines can considerably enhance efficiency and productivity.

Opportunities for EV adoption

The agricultural sector offers numerous opportunities for the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), spanning from agri-logistics to on-farm activities. EVs have the potential to decrease pollution and transportation costs associated with moving farm produce due to their cleaner and energy-efficient power. What’s more, deploying EVs results in significantly less noise pollution compared to diesel and other fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

Added to these are energy independence, multi-purpose use, and improved performance which form other benefits of EV adoption in agriculture. This means that farmers will get more value for their effort, leading to improved livelihoods in communities and overall economic benefits.

Furthermore, many governments of the world, including the Indian government, offer subsidies and incentives to promote EV adoption. The fact that this revolution is taking place in the agri sector indicates they will pay even more attention to the efforts of transforming from petrol and diesel vehicles and machines to electric alternatives.

Overall, India’s vision to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2070 is achievable if the right steps are taken. Agriculture can greatly benefit from these undertakings by effectively leveraging the advantages of green energy to enhance food security not only for India but also for the global community.

(The author is CTO & Co- Founder, Statiq