The transformations in India’s agricultural sector over the last two decades have been unprecedented. While new innovations, methods, and technologies continue to emerge in the agriculture space, what is more instructive is the new crop of agriculture managers who are flooding the industry. The task ahead is clear - to transform India into the food basket of the world by improving on its already impressive global profile in terms of production and exports. This has put the nation on a strong footing.

To put things in perspective, about three-quarters of Indian families rely on rural incomes, the most important of which is agriculture. New agri managers must, therefore, ensure infrastructure is in place for modern agriculture with all support of the latest technology and logistics so that farmers can do farming with ease and make agriculture profitable. Other challenges that are required to be addressed include rural poverty, which needs to be reduced, and food security, which must align with increasing productivity. For this to happen, new managers will have to rise up to the challenge and do things differently. Their first and foremost objective should be the well-being of farmers and bring some resort to farmers for uplifting their standard of life.

Responding to an evolving landscape

The world is changing, and these changes have an effect on several industries, including agriculture. Therefore, new Agri managers must understand rapidly changing industry trends and adapt effectively. First and foremost, treating agriculture as a business informs the mindset that more can be done with less. This involves agribusiness management education, which brings together the principles of agriculture, business and economics, and management. It is vital for new managers to undergo this learning process to be better equipped for the job.

Also read: G20 Agri Summit: India bats for evidence-based policy making to address high food prices

There is a need for an upgrade of the processes, beginning from seed procurement and land preparation, down to planting, harvesting, and selling the produce. All the other important activities like weed and pest/disease control must also be upgraded and most importantly communicated to farmers. To do this effectively, managers need to embrace the latest education and latest update on international technology trends. Taking a course, embarking on an internship or even reading up on new advances in agriculture can go a long way. A typical example is understanding the best solutions for crop protection and nutrition.

Sustainability agenda

Furthermore, there are also new trends arising from the sustainability agenda. Water preservation has become another important subject of advocacy. Hence, new managers should learn and work on educating how to use the least possible amount of water on their farms for their crops, while also leveraging recycling. Added to this is the need to begin to adopt green and sustainable practices that drastically reduce carbon emissions and damage to the soil. The agricultural sector is relying on these new managers to embrace such sustainable methods to protect the environment.

Technology adoption is another important component that new managers are expected to embrace. From data analytics and e-commerce to artificial intelligence and virtual reality, the possibilities are endless if technology is adopted in agriculture. Drones and robotics are other areas that can be explored to reduce human interference and cut down labour costs as much as possible.

Also read: How carbon trading can benefit the agriculture sector

On a final note…

It is not enough for managers to learn new trends, methods, and technologies, they also have to be smart in order to key into the growth agenda of the government. It is important that they identify and focus on higher-value commodities, which can easily shore up the economics of their communities and increase government revenues. There are also commodities that offer greater potential for growth, one of which is dairy. New agri managers can begin to look into such areas and invest in places where they see potential and future benefits for themselves and the country at large.

The author is Managing Director, Insecticides (India) Limited