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Mr. Ashok Anantharaman, COO, ACE

by Kanchi Batra - 19 April, 2023, 12:00 934 Views 0 Comment

Diplomatist: ACE Tractors has been providing a wide range of the world’s most customer-centric agriculture equipment with innovative designs and technology for almost three decades now. How do you plan to keep the momentum going?

Mr. Anantharaman:ACE is expanding its portfolio in the Agri space as well as widening its footprint in the world in order to enhance the momentum.In the tractor space, ACE is now available in the 15HP – 96HP range. Most of these models are available in 2 wheel + 4 wheel drive option. Certain new introductions in the Orchard Special /garden tractor category are planned in the next couple of months to complete the portfolio.

Similarly, in the Harvesting vertical, the focus has been on launching harvesting machines,which facilitate multi crops + can take special care of millets.  ACE is proud to have 4 different types of harvesters in Tangential Axial Flow + Axial flow design which will work in different soil conditions in the world. In the Agri Equipment space, new product innovations like mini Rotavators Lightweight Rotavators + Extra Heavy Duty Rotavators are being introduced keeping customer needs in mind.

Diplomatist: What are your strategies for the year 2023? Where do you see the greatest capacity for growth, from a geographic and product point of view?

Mr. Anantharaman:Strategies for the year 2023 will evolve around the following areas:

  • Strengthening the product portfolio in all 3 product ranges.
  • Dealer Network expansion in selected states
  • Facilitate newer applications
  • Launch in newer geographies worldwide
  • Providing Complete Solutions to the Farming community for Sustainable Agriculture.

With food self-sufficiency as the Mantra for many countries around the world, the only recipe for success is increasing Farm Mechanization.

ACE will be designing, producing and Supplying Implements +Equipment to facilitate the above so that it is very cost-effective to all the major stakeholders.

Diplomatist: The mechanization rate in the agricultural sector is steadily increasing. How do you see the future for agricultural mechanization in Asia & worldwide?

Mr. Anantharaman:Mechanization has been identified as a key tool to increase agricultural production.

Farm mechanization saves inputs like seeds up to 15-20 percent, fertilizer by 15-20 percent and increases cropping intensity by 5-20 percent. It increases the efficiency of farm labour and reduces the time of agricultural operation by 15-20 percent.

One of the major constraints of increasing farm production and productivity is the inadequacy of farm power and machinery with farmers. The average farm power availability needs to be improved to a minimum of 3.5 KW/ha by 2024 to assure timeliness and quality in field operations and to undertake heavy field operations like sub-soiling, deep ploughing, chiseling, etc.

Currently, India is one of the leading countries in the world for the manufacture of tractor, agricultural implements and equipment. The range of equipment includes land development machinery, field preparation equipment, plant protection machines, harvesting and threshing equipment, irrigation and drainage pumps, sprinkler systems, dairy and agro-processing equipment etc. India is exporting these implements to various countries including USA and countries in Africa and Asia continents.

The world is now on the edge of the third modern farming revolution and PRECISION FARMING is becoming an important part of it. Due to scientific progression genetically modified newer sets of crops that are pest resistant and need less water were introduced, leaving each farmer able to feed 155 people. Advanced analytical capabilities and constantly improving IOT (Internet of things) capabilities, like precision agriculture drones, will be key elements in the third revolution.

In developing economies, 32% of food losses occur during food production as analyzed by McKinsey on FAO data. Conventional farming practices are area-centric. There is a general set of crops cultivated throughout an area. All the farmers in that area follow the same procedures with respect to the sowing, nourishing, irrigation, and harvesting period. What these practices result in is: unpredictability, overuse of resources, and uncontrolled waste production. Since details of areas in a single farm can be traced, precision farming benefits farmers in several ways. A refined set of cultivation practices and choice of crops based on the suitability of land, elimination of volatility and risk, waste management leads to the following:

  • Reduced production costs
  • Minimum environmental impact
  • Optimized use of Fertilizers
  • Water management

All these practices augur well for agricultural growth.

Diplomatist: What are the plans to expand the agri business of ACE in Africa? How can ACE contribute to the development of the tractor and agricultural machinery industry and economy of Africa?

Mr. Anantharaman:ACE is setting up a state-of-the-art assembly plant for manufacturing Tractors, Backhoe Loaders &   fabrication of Agricultural implements in Ghana, for the Government of The Republic of Ghana.

-We have a Comprehensive Supply project of all Agri equipment and implements in South west Africa.

-We are already present in West Africa   and major countries of North and East Africa with Tractors,Implements and other equipment

With our Harvesting Equipment Portfolio being complete,we will be making our Foray into various parts of Africa.

Diplomatist: How much does ACE invest in Research & Development and what is your strategy regarding precision agriculture and smart technologies?

Mr. Anantharaman:

  • The future of Agriculture depends on connected tractors, IOTS, precision farming.
  • Connected tractors are advanced agricultural tractors that use sensors, control units, hardware, display, and other IOT systems to connect over the Internet and facilitate remote monitoring of the operations by farmers. These tractors use on-board application and intelligent connected solutions to conduct farming operations more effectively. Emerging Trends such as Smart Farming and Advent of IOT sensors and the rise in affordability among farmers has boosted the demand for technologically advanced farm equipment. The use of IOT in tractors for data management, remote display of tractor operation, and autonomous undertaking of harvesting, seeding, and planting is projected to drive the connected tractors market.
  • Connected tractors effectively undertake farming actions to enhance farming operations. These tractors have sensors to analyze soil compaction, calculate seeding distance, and make precise turns on fields for minimal gaps and overlap. Demand for higher yield output has been increasing at the expense of small available arable land, the connected tractors help effectively use the farm space and thus is expected to gain high preference.

ACE is closely working on all these fronts to facilitate farmers with SMART TECHNOLOGY.

Diplomatist: Do you want to say anything to our readers?

Mr. Anantharaman:I wanted to share with the readers that the Future of Agriculture is Precision Farming.

Precision farming and modern farming focus on reducing production cost and wastage, as it is tailored to the needs of each plot. It centers on data collection and analysis of farm pIots which comprises sensors, drones, and robots for recording the data, and software as a service can be used to adapt to precision farming systems.

Although IoT is still at a nascent stage, the governments of agriculture-dominant economies do invest in other cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to make smarter agriculture solutions.

The farmers should not be afraid of upgrading to AG-TECH since it will be beneficial to them in the future.

Kanchi Batra
Kanchi Batra is the Managing Editor of The Diplomatist.
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