On January 12, 2017 we conducted our first Facebook Live with Dr Usha Zehr (Chief Technology Officer) to highlight the need for innovation in agriculture to produce more with less. With growing stress on natural resources as demand for food production increases, we used this opportunity to answer many questions and shared ideas on how innovation is continuously enabling farmers to produce more with less.
In this blogpost, we bring to you key highlights of the conversation we had with our viewers who asked questions pertaining to challenges, opportunities, industry and role of Mahyco. The half an hour long conversation can be viewed here (link)
Dr. Zehr shared that innovation in Indian agriculture started with the Green Revolution and has continued to make progress since then. However, the current challenges of droughts, policy changes etc have made current times in Indian agriculture tough. Despite having a bumper crop last year, we cannot overlook these challenges.
Further, these challenges are coupled with issues of affordability, accessibility and distribution. Using the example of Green Revolution, Dr Zehr shared that one on the big learnings and takeaways were that rapid increase in food production also stabilizes prices and make it affordable to masses. Dr. Zehr also answered questions around accessibility of food, where we might be producing enough food but much is wasted before it reaches the market.
One of the viewers asked about the role of seed innovation in agriculture and Dr Zehr shared insights that improving genetics, solving environmental issues, using innovation to improve grain quality and disease tolerance, have all led to an increase in productivity. Emphasizing on seeds, Dr Zehr shared that it is an input which impacts productivity irrespective the size of the farmer- a small farmer and a big farmer, both benefit equally from seeds. Dr. Zehr shared that belonging to an agricultural family herself, she remembers seeing her father sell seeds. Farmers were so excited to have something which they thought would help them improve yield and invested in the technology with complete faith and trust. She shared how improvement in quality of life was evident as farmers progressed from cycles to bikes, kachcha to pakka houses and sending their children to school or affording better medical treatment.
During the conversation, Dr Zehr also shared about our ongoing research in nitrogen use efficiency and drought tolerant seeds which will focus on improving crop productivity in a short span of time, overcoming the challenges of climates. She also talked about Phenotyping and soil sensors which are being developed in our facilities.
As an innovative company, Mahyco encourages use of big data, and we are also focusing on soil health and to address the issues of how we can improve the environment where the crops are grown to get the most of it.
Concluding the conversation with emphasis on role of young generation in reviving agriculture and making it a smart industry, Dr Zehr concluded the conversation. With the success of the initiative, we will be back soon with more exciting topics.