Jagdish Chaudhari (IEEE Special Interest Group on Affordable Agriculture) did the context setting for the workshop. Dr P N Rasal provided an excellent overview of the agriculture domain. He also shared challenges faced by the farming community and also highlighted specific projects that can be taken up by engineering students. Some examples are small cooler boxes for storing/transporting perishable items, low cost sensors, machine to peel pomegranates. Dr Ram Chaudhari shared comprehensive information about the various areas covered under agriculture engineering. Listed below are few key areas.
a. Farm machines and power b. Process Engineering c. Irrigation & drainage engineering
d. Green House technology e. Soil & water conservation f. Renewable energy sources
Dr Yogesh Kulkarni shared following very interesting points to be considered while setting up an Affordable Agriculture Lab in the respective institutes:
a. Always insist on having an end customer for every project.
b. Remain approachable for the customer
c. Teach students how to search a problem
d. Have a pool of non-conventional mentors
e. Create online documentation and knowledge repository
f. Provide big picture
g. Glamourize the projects
The participants did a campus tour under guidance of Dr Ram Chaudhari, during which they visited Greenhouses, Soil Labs and Entomology Lab. Ms Sanjivani Joglekar diligently anchored the entire session