Chairman of Adani Group Gautam Adani called for cluster-based policies and adoption of digital technologies to promote agriculture and food processing units across the country.
Cluster policies are crucial for small-scale farmers and agri-business, he said while addressing students at the Institute of Rural Management here.
“It enables them to achieve higher productivity, higher value-added production and minimise the back-breaking costs of logistics, storage, wastage and interference from the middlemen,” he said.
“Therefore, an agri-based cluster will be a set of local farmers, agri-businesses and institutions that are engaged in the same agricultural or agri-industrial sub-sector, and work together to build value networks.”
Adani said recent advances in areas like digitisation, seed quality and weather forecasting, combined with smart policymaking and general public awareness have opened up the agriculture sector in several ways.
The country must now develop a model of a rural economy wherein local populations can be employed locally, he said. This will mean there is a need to rethink how local economies are structured and clustered.
Adani said the total number of migrant workers in India exceeds 100 million. One in four workers in India is a migrant. “Some migration is beneficial. However, unless we tackle the issue of the continued increase in rural to urban migration, India’s growth will be hampered.”
At the same time, modular and compact food processing units need to start becoming commonplace. Compact and rapid-build processing units with proximity to the farms allow for more efficient and shorter supply chains.
“So modular processing plants can be built, moved and set up quickly. This is a solution that works best for countries like India with logistical challenges,” said Adani. He added that the best days of Indian farming are ahead. “We will be able to address the urban-rural opportunity divide better in the years to come and one day we will feed the world.”