ICAR-CIAE, a premier institute for Agricultural Engineering R&D, was established in 1976 to cater to the needs of agricultural engineering in the country. It is located in the heart of India at Bhopal and in today’s day and age when agricultural land in shrinking and population increasing, the institute’s mandate plays a pivotal role in increasing agricultural productivity.
The vision of the ICAR-CIAE encompasses modernizing Indian agriculture by improvement in crop productivity through agricultural mechanization, harnessing energy from renewable sources, efficient management of irrigation water, reduction in post-harvest losses and promote agri-business with a view to enhance income and generate employment in rural sector. The institute is mandated to undertake basic, adaptive and applied research on farm mechanisation, post-harvest food processing & value addition, irrigation & drainage engineering and energy management in agriculture. It is also mandated to undertake human resource development and capacity building through outreach and training programs, commercialization and utilization of agricultural engineering technologies. It fulfils these objective through five divisions (Agricultural Mechanization, Agro Produce Processing, Agricultural Energy and Power, Irrigation & Drainage Engineering and Technology Transfer); four All Indian Coordinated Research Projects (Farm Implements & Machinery, Energy in Agriculture & Agro Industries, Utilization of Animal Energy, and Ergonomics & Safety in Agriculture); two Consortia Research Platforms (Farm Mechanization and Precision farming, and Energy from Agriculture), and a Centre of Excellence on Soybean Processing and Utilization. The cooperating centres of four AICRPs located in SAUs, CAUs, IIT and NGOs address the crops and region specific technological issues throughout the country. The regional centre at Coimbatore addresses the engineering intervention needs of southern states of the country. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Bhopal functioning at institute campus serves to demonstrate and popularize engineering technologies for large scale adoption by the farmers in Bhopal district. To addresses the need of higher education in the field of agricultural engineering, the Institute is involved in educating students by offering Ph.D program as an outreach centre of ICAR-IARI, New Delhi. It also provides international leadership in the agricultural mechanization domain through its prominent activities in the programmes like CSAM (UN-ESCAP), AARDO, SAARC, etc.
Over the years, the institute has developed more than 300 successful technologies in frontier areas of agricultural engineering with great potential to increase productivity, reduce cultivation cost, reduce drudgery of agricultural workers, value addition and nutritional security, conserve resources and provide alternate energy sources. The economic impact of 17 most popular commercialized technologies of the institute has been estimated at Rs. 7210 crore/annum.
The training and skill development of different stakeholders like farmers, manufacturers, upcoming entrepreneurs, extension functionaries, teachers, students, etc. are an integral part of the institutes activities. Several entrepreneurship programs organized by institute have resulted in establishment and successful operation of about 1300 custom hiring centres, 200 soy-based food production enterprises and 75 farmers adopting protected cultivation.
As we look towards the future, CIAE endeavours to work in the frontier areas using state of the art technologies like Precision agriculture using GIS/GPS techniques for region specific crop planning, controlled precision application of inputs (seeds, fertilisers, chemicals, water, etc), conservation agriculture for carbon sequestration, multi-functional farm equipment to conserve energy and to reduce turnaround time, farm machinery management, applications of drones in agriculture, occupational health hazards and safety on the farms, application of sensors, micro-processor and computers in agriculture. CIAE is also gearing up to tackle agriculture which will be dominated by precision and cloud data and supported by advanced infrastructure like smart tractors, unmanned aerial vehicles, wireless technology and unmanned autonomous guided vehicle for multi-purpose field works.