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Farm Mechanization in IndiaBY: Vikram Yogi | Category: Agriculture | Submitted: 2017-01-06 06:20:42
Article Summary: "The technological improvements in Indian agriculture since mid sixties have brought about revolutionary increase in agricultural production. The country was facing acute food shortages till eighties has now become not only self sufficient but also a net exporter of food grains. This has been made possible due to evolution of hig.."
Farm Mechanization in India
Author: Vikram Yogi
Farm mechanization has been helpful to bring about a significant improvement in agricultural productivity. Thus, there is strong need for mechanization of agricultural operations. The factors that justify the strengthening of farm mechanization in the country can be numerous. The timeliness of operations has assumed greater significant in obtaining optimal yields from different crops, which has been possible by way of mechanization.
The quality and precision of the operations are equally significant for realizing higher yields. The various operations such as land leveling, irrigation, sowing and planting, use of fertilizers, plant protection, harvesting and threshing need a high degree of precision to increase the efficiency of the inputs and reduce the losses..
The time taken to perform sequence of operations is a factor determining the cropping intensity. So as to ensure timeliness of various operations, it is quite inevitable to use such mechanical equipments which have higher output capacity and cut down the number of operations to be performed. This has helped in increasing area under cultivation and increase in cropping intensity. Higher productivity of land and labour is another factor, which clearly justifies farm mechanization. Not only the output per hour is more, the total labour requirement is also reduced. The displaced labour may of course be absorbed in the other alternatives created by the increased mechanization such as manufacturing, repair and service shops and the sale services. Thus, it only results in the shifting of the labour from one vocation to the other. As production increases with mechanization of the farm operations, it creates a good scope for commercialization of agriculture.
There are good chances to reduce the cost of production if farm operations are mechanized as it saves labour, both human and bullock. In the absence of mechanization, the ever-increasing wage rate of human labour and cost of upkeep of draught animals could have increased the cost of production much higher. Further, large scale production means less per unit cost on the farms. Moreover, it reduces the weather risk and risk of non-availability of labour and thus wastage is minimized. Timely marketing is also made possible by quick mechanical transportation, cleaning and handling. Further, the area under fodder and feed for draught animals could be reduced due to decline in their use. The land thus released can be brought under commercial crops. The use of farm mechanization enlarges the employment opportunities both on farms and in nonfarm sectors through increase in area under plough, multiple cropping, development of agro-industries and related services. On the other hand, displacement of human labour does take place and demand for semiskilled labour in place of unskilled labour is increased. Also, the drudgery for human labour is reduced and unhygienic operations such as handling of farm yard manure can be done with machinery
Agricultural Mechanization Development
Efficient machinery helps in increasing productivity by about 30% (Table) besides, enabling the farmers to raise a second crop making the agriculture attractive. Raising more crops with high productivity is a path for meeting the future food requirement of population. Development and introduction of high capacity, precision, reliable and energy efficient equipment is the need for judicious use inputs. For crop production human, animal and mechanical energy is extensively used. In small and marginal farms, except for tillage, other operations such as sowing/ transplanting, weeding, cotton picking harvesting and threshing (paddy) are normally manually performed
Status of farm mechanization in India
The contribution of different power sources to the total power changed with time (Table). The share of agricultural workers continuously declined since 1981 and expected to be only 5.09 per cent by 2011-12 and that of draught animal power from 27.23 per cent to 6.37 per cent in same period. The increase in power has been mainly through introduction of tractors, whose contribution has increased from 7.5 per cent in 1981 to 51.08 per cent in 2011-12.
Table –contribution of different power source in India
The projections for mechanization in India
The projections for mechanization in India are given in Table. The tractor population is expected to stabilize at around 7 million units by 2050 and available farm power will then stabilize at around 4.5 kW/ha. The draft animal population will decrease drastically whereas power tillers, diesel engines and electric motors are expected to register significant increases during the period 2010 to 2050.
Table - Projections for Mechanization in India
Economic advantage of farm mechanization
The table shows that through farm mechanization we can increase the farm income an average 39 %.
Policy to increase farm mechanization in India
The need for a second green revolution or evergreen revolution has now been well recognized for ensuring food and livelihood security of the nation. As a key driver to effect and sustain evergreen revolution, agriculture mechanization would be playing a leading role in near future. Agricultural mechanization while reducing drudgery associated with various farm operations also economizes the utilization of inputs, thereby, harnessing the optimum potential of available resources and thus enhancing farm productivity.
Thus, while the nation prepares for a second green revolution or evergreen revolution for ensuring food security, the necessity for promoting farm mechanizations as a special Mission cannot be ignored.
Accordingly, National Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (NMAM) has been envisaged for implementation from XII plan onward.
The Mission will aim at catalyzing an accelerated but inclusive growth of agricultural mechanization in India by way of:
To achieve above objectives, the Mission will adopt following multi-prong strategies
Constraints in farm mechanization
It is true that farm mechanization has shown good results as of raising the agricultural production and improving the standard of living of cultivators within very short period. But a number of arguments have been advanced against farm mechanization such as:
1. Small size and scattered holdings of the farmers stand in the way of mechanization. As a result of this, farm machinery generally remains underutilized.
2. Majority of small cultivators are poor who are not in a position to purchase the costly machinery like tractors, combine harvesters etc.
3. The use of tractor operated machinery may render some of the draft cattle population surplus. Studies under AICRP on Energy Requirement indicate that tractor owning farms do use draft animals for certain jobs. Like-wise farms using animate sources of farm power, use tractor on custom service for certain jobs.
4. The farm machinery have large turning radius and thus require comparatively larger farm for economical use. Mechanization may lead to structural change in agriculture in respect of the occupational distribution in the rural economy. No doubt, the increasing farm mechanization is going to increase employment in secondary and tertiary sectors but it does displace labour in farm operations.
5. Lack of proper knowledge of farmer to purchase farm machinery, operate and maintain it properly leads to wrong choice, makes it uneconomical and risky too.
6. There is great shortage of diesel in the country as a whole. Thus, to use so extensive oil based farm machinery is not desirable.
7. The lack of repair and replacement facilities especially in the remote rural areas is another hindrance in efficient small farm mechanization.
8. Due to the seasonal nature of the agriculture, the farm machinery remains idle for much of the time.
Mechanization in Indian agriculture is the need of the time but its use has to be viewed from angles of unemployment problems of human and animal force and vast majority of small and uneconomical farms. To rationalize the existing farm machinery is important as seen from the high variability in inter-regional distribution, it is imperative to suggest some policy issues such as;
1. The total use of the farm machinery, which on an average is much less than the prescribed norms. Therefore, there is need to enhance its productive use as a result of which, the fixed cost can be reduced significantly. The use of the machinery for social purposes, which is otherwise unproductive and thus needs to be minimized to the possible extent.
2. The use of the tractor for custom hiring should be encouraged through legislative measures. The various problems faced by the farmers in this process such as uneven distribution of tractors, uniform cropping pattern in the area, social symbol attached to the ownership of tractors and the payment problems should be further probed into for their minimization.
3. The distribution of tractors from area to area should be normalized so that the custom hiring is increased. Further, the small farmers having operational holding of less than 4 hectares need to be discouraged to own the tractors unless they have substantial grounds to make economical use of it. However, to solve the problems of mechanization of smaller holdings, the possibilities can be:
(a) Cooperative management of farm machinery;
(b) Financing of second hand tractors for small farmers;
(c) Extension services to advise the suitability of various makes, models and horse powers for different size of operational holdings;
(d) Devising smaller machinery suitable for small farms which constitute the vast majority of farmers but the machinery has to be effective and less costly.
4. Suitable crop planning on the farm and in the area can be quite useful to gainfully employ the . The monoculture of crops and varieties in the area results in high seasonal fluctuation in its use.
5. There is need to revamp the tenancy legislation so that the land lease market is encouraged and the size of the tractor operated farms is increased to justify the existing farm machinery.
1.IASRI (2006). Study relating to formulating long-tem mechanization strategy for each agro- climatic zone/state in India. Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute, New Delhi, India.
Input Survey 1996-97, 2001-02 and 2006-07, Ministry of Agriculture,Government of India
2.Kulkarni SD. 2009. Country Report - India: Agricultural Mechanization - Present Scenario and Perspective. . Presented in Fourth Session of the Technical Committee of APCAEM held at New Delhi, India during November 21-24, 2009
3.Singh, Gajendra (2001). Relationship between Mechanization and Agricultural Productivity in Various Parts of India. AMA 32(2): 68-76.
4.Singh, Gajendra and Chancellor, W.J. (1975). Relation between Farm Mechanization and Crop Yield for a Farming District in India. Transactions of the American Soc of Agri. Engineers, Vol. 17, No. 5, 1974: 808-813.
5.Singh, Gyanendra and D. De. 1999. Quantification of a mechanization indicator for Indian agriculture. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, ASAE. !5(3): 197-204.
6.Verma S.R. (2001) "Impact of Agricultural Mechanization on production, productivity, cropping intensity, income generation and employment of labour". 32 (3): 484-489.
About Author / Additional Info:
I am currently pursuing Ph.D in Agricultural economics from IARI New Delhi.
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