CIAME 2018: Machines to control farming | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 29, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:25 AM, November 29, 2018

CIAME 2018: Machines to control farming

Wuhan is a populous city of the world's most populous country China. The capital city of Hubei Province, Wuhan, is apparently quiet and calm. I think, only in October, the city gets revived with a unique event. That event is popularly known as China International Agriculture Machinery Exhibition (CIAME), one of the biggest in the world. In October this year, I visited the exhibition of agricultural machinery. I did attend the exhibition last year as well. The aim of the fair is to get ideas about the technologies which can be effective in the agricultural sector of Bangladesh. The grand event was organized at the International Convention Expo Center of Wuhan. Thirty countries had participated in the huge agricultural machinery exhibition that took place across 220 thousand square metres of area.

The China Agricultural Machinery Association, China Agricultural Mechanization Association and China Agricultural Machinery Distribution Association jointly organized the three-day fair from October 26 to 28. The theme of this years' fair was 'Revitalization of rural agricultural life system through integrated and self-sustainable agricultural machinery'. Following the lead of the President of China Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Association Dr Chen Xi, local representatives of the world's various agriculture machinery manufacturing companies including China, were introduced to the worldwide mass media. I talked to Liu Xian, President of China Agricultural Mechanization Association. I wanted to know what their expectations were from the huge fair. Liu Xian said that the nature of agriculture is changing with climate change. And for the sake of food security for the huge population, the emphasis is on increasing production. The goal is to have more production in less time. So, there is no alternative to agricultural mechanization to have more production from limited land using less manpower. And this fair is organized with a view to introducing farmers and those involved in agricultural machinery business.

There was a three-day-long symposium on different topics as well. Researchers and experts from different fields of China presented their findings. The seminar was attended by agricultural machinery traders, scientists, extension officers, researchers, entrepreneurs and media representatives from around the world. There was a commercial economic survey of the agricultural machinery industry. Besides, there were seven international seminars, 10 thematic meetings, spot demonstrations, agricultural robot competition. In this huge event, Ru Wei, deputy secretary of China's Agricultural Machinery Manufacturing and Distributing Company, CAMDA (China Agricultural Machinery Distribution Association), who was in charge of coordinating the global media, said, "While arranging this huge event, we had to communicate with many of the local and international organizations. This fair is the result of sincere cooperation from everyone. 

After months-long preparation for this huge event, there was a three-day exhibition. There were demonstrations of thousands of agricultural machinery. There were different types of machinery. The latest research and thought about the mechanization of agriculture was discussed here. The innovators and researchers were also very excited to conduct their presentations. Along with huge machinery essential for agricultural mechanization, there were small technologies or tools. I had a talk with an entrepreneur named Liu Xiangli. He built a small rice transplanter, thinking about the small farmers.

The huge exhibition of agricultural machinery had 15 types of tractors, absolutely ultramodern and efficient harvesters, land farming machines, planting and sowing machines, irrigation and drainage equipments, plant and crop protection equipment. There were many participants from 30 countries of the world, as well as many visitors. Keeping in mind various factors and issues, artificial intelligence, electrical equipment and smart technology have been integrated to make agriculture more efficient, economically viable and productive. In this year's fair, there were never-seen-before machinery including fully equipped electric tractors, various types of machines that spray pesticide in fruit gardens without any driver, drones that spray water, insecticides, or plant required nutrients etc. Every year, a lot of efforts are given to increase the efficiency of the agricultural machinery.

Around 120 thousand people attended the fair. There I also talked to the representatives of some of the renowned agricultural machinery manufacturing companies of Bangladesh. They determined precisely what could be implemented in Bangladesh. Alimus Sadat of Alim Industries Limited said that if you only import necessary parts of a machine from China and manufacture locally in Bangladesh, then it would only cost half the amount of importing the entire machine including VAT and TAX. This way, agriculture machines could reach the hands of the common farmers.

I think there is a need to take necessary step in this regard by the manufacturers and distributors of agricultural machinery as well as the government.

General Manager of M/S Kamal Machine Tools, Md Shabbir Ahmed showed a potato harvester. He explained that this machine is not very complicated. It is possible to make using local technology as well.

Agricultural mechanization is inevitable now. Those who are enjoying the maximum benefit of this mechanization actually earn a lot of benefit. Let's come to the excellence of the machines. There were some machines in the exhibition that were being run by drones. Last time we saw how the drone was coming back automatically by evaluating the utility and the place of applying fertilizers and pesticides in the cropland and then going back again to apply fertilizers or insecticides. Now the drone seemed to become more automatic. It was operating a huge spray machine. Entering some of the rooms of the exhibition, I was astounded by grand arrangements of audio and visual display.

Multifaceted research on agricultural machinery is going on at a full speed. The excellence of machines is increasing. Continuous experiments are going on to increase the artificial intelligence of the machines. This operation of machines for agriculture's multipurpose development is truly positive. Developed countries cannot think of agriculture without the use of machines. In this case, developing or underdeveloped countries are behind for many reasons.

The versatile agricultural success of our country is a wonder to the world. It is very important to link new farm machines with this success. In this case, we need more of Bangladesh's active presence in this large agricultural machinery exhibition. Let's move forward towards the development of mechanical agriculture, with the expectation that ordinary and low-income farmers can also enjoy the facility of using them at an affordable cost with the assistance from public and private organizations.

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