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By 2022 Farmers’ Income will be doubled: PM Narendra Modi

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A farmer, : Pixabay
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Botad (Gujarat), April 18, 2017: Imploring farmers to adopt modern technology, Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday stated his government has decided to double their income by 2022 when India would celebrate 75 years of Independence.

Modi made the announcement while dedicating the Rs 1,500 -crore phase I of link-II pipeline canal of SAUNI (Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation) project to the people and laying the foundation stone for Rs 1,694-crore phase II of link II of the project.

The phase II of the project envisages laying the foundation of a 74- kilometer pipeline network connecting Bhimdad dam to seven other dams in Botad and Bhavnagar districts, mentioned PTI.

The SAUNI scheme would take water from Narmada to 115 dams in the parched Saurashtra region.

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The PM asked farmers to adopt modern farming methods like drip irrigation and said his government has aimed to double the farmers’ income by 2022.

“Centre has decided to double farmers’ income by 2022 by improving technology, increasing milk production, use of solar light, honey production. Fifteen years ago people would not have thought that we can come out of drought-like situation (in this region),” he said.

“We will have to make it our nature to adopt modern technology. Entire government — be it the Central government or the state governments — and banks should come under your mobile phone,” he said, while urging the people to download BHIM app and earn money by helping others to download it, mentioned

Being a former CM, he understood farmers’ issues better, he stated.

“I am the first person to become the PM after serving as a CM for a long time. And that is why I know how much farmers are troubled when they do not get urea or water in time. For me, it is easy to understand people’s problems,” he stated.

“When as the Gujarart chief minister I would go to the Centre for meetings and say that we spend a large part of our budget on water, many would criticise me saying you cannot win elections that way. I don’t work to win elections but to serve the people of Gujarat. It is only water and not money that can make rural Gujarat progress,” the Prime Minister stated.

“Today Goddess Narmada herself has descended to bless the people here. Water is like God, we have no right to waste it,” he stated.

Modi also applauded Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for his `Narmada Yatra’ campaign.

“Gujarat farmers should be grateful to Chouhan government. To ensure that the Gujarat farmers do not face any water scarcity, the MP government has organised Narmada Yatra and asked people to plant trees along its (Narmada’s) banks,” he stated.

“Shivraj Singh Chouhan government of the BJP is raising forests so that Mother Narmada does not go dry even after hundred years,” Modi stated.

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The project which Modi dedicated to the region today consists a 51-kilometre network of underground pipeline to carry Narmada water from Limbdi-Bhogavo-II Dam in Surendranagar district to Bhimdad Dam in Botad district.

Last August, the Prime Minister had dedicated phase 1 of Link-I canal network of the project. SAUNI Yojana envisages channelling floodwater through Narmada Dam project by laying 1,126-kilometre network of pipelines to feed 115 reservoirs in Saurashtra and irrigate 10.22 lakh acres of land.

– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

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The Future Farmer is Here and He is A Robot

The heavy lifting on Iron Ox’s indoor farm is done by Angus, which rolls about the indoor farm on omnidirectional wheels. Its main job is to shuttle maturing produce to another,

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Iron Ox CEO Brandon Alexander gives a tour at his robotic indoor farm in San Carlos, California. VOA

Brandon Alexander would like to introduce you to Angus, the farmer of the future. He’s heavyset, weighing in at nearly 1,000 pounds, not to mention a bit slow. But he’s strong enough to hoist 800-pound pallets of maturing vegetables and can move them from place to place on his own.

Sure, Angus is a robot. But don’t hold that against him, even if he looks more like a large tanning bed than C-3PO.

To Alexander, Angus and other robots are key to a new wave of local agriculture that aims to raise lettuce, basil and other produce in metropolitan areas while conserving water and sidestepping the high costs of human labor. It’s a big challenge, and some earlier efforts have flopped. Even Google’s “moonshot” laboratory, known as X, couldn’t figure out how to make the economics work.

After raising $6 million and tinkering with autonomous robots for two years, Alexander’s startup Iron Ox says it’s ready to start delivering crops of its robotically grown vegetables to people’s salad bowls. “And they are going to be the best salads you ever tasted,” says the 33-year-old Alexander, a one-time Oklahoma farmboy turned Google engineer turned startup CEO.

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The temperatures of some two dozen plant varietals are monitored at Iron Ox, a robotic indoor farm, in San Carlos, California. VOA

Iron Ox planted its first robot farm in an 8,000-square-foot warehouse in San Carlos, California, a suburb located 25 miles south of San Francisco. Although no deals have been struck yet, Alexander says Iron Ox has been talking to San Francisco Bay area restaurants interested in buying its leafy vegetables and expects to begin selling to supermarkets next year.

The San Carlos warehouse is only a proving ground for Iron Ox’s long-term goals. It plans to set up robot farms in greenhouses that will rely mostly on natural sunlight instead of high-powered indoor lighting that sucks up expensive electricity. Initially, though, the company will sell its produce at a loss in order to remain competitive.

During the next few years, Iron Ox wants to open robot farms near metropolitan areas across the U.S. to serve up fresher produce to restaurants and supermarkets. Most of the vegetables and fruit consumed in the U.S. is grown in California, Arizona, Mexico and other nations. That means many people in U.S. cities are eating lettuce that’s nearly a week old by the time it’s delivered.

There are bigger stakes as well. The world’s population is expected to swell to 10 billion by 2050 from about 7.5 billion now, making it important to find ways to feed more people without further environmental impact, according to a report from the World Resources Institute.

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A robotic arm lifts plants being grown at Iron Ox, a robotic indoor farm, in San Carlos, California. VOA

Iron Ox, Alexander reasons, can be part of the solution if its system can make the leap from its small, laboratory-like setting to much larger greenhouses.

The startup relies on a hydroponic system that conserves water and automation in place of humans who seem increasingly less interested in U.S. farming jobs that pay an average of $13.32 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nearly half of U.S. farmworkers planting and picking crops aren’t in the U.S. legally, based on a survey by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The heavy lifting on Iron Ox’s indoor farm is done by Angus, which rolls about the indoor farm on omnidirectional wheels. Its main job is to shuttle maturing produce to another, as-yet unnamed robot, which transfers plants from smaller growing pods to larger ones, using a mechanical arm whose joints are lubricated with “food-safe” grease.

It’s a tedious process to gently pick up each of the roughly 250 plants on each pallet and transfer them to their bigger pods, but the robot doesn’t seem to mind the work. Iron Ox still relies on people to clip its vegetables when they are ready for harvest, but Alexander says it is working on another robot that will eventually handle that job too.

Also Read: Asian Farms Tackle Drug Resistance with Apps and Dictionary

Alexander formerly worked on robotics at Google X, but worked on drones, not indoor farms. While there, he met Jon Binney, Iron Ox’s co-founder and chief technology offer. The two men became friends and began to brainstorm about ways they might be able to use their engineering skills for the greater good.

“If we can feed people using robots, what could be more impactful than that?” Alexander says. (VOA)