1. Agriculture World

How ‘Mechanised Farming’ is becoming a Mantra for Higher Output

Prity Barman
Prity Barman
Sugar Harvesting Mechanisation
Sugar cane harvesting

Sugarcane cutters from Maharashtra's Marathwada area, who migrate to the sugar belt during the sugar cane cutting season, are unsure if they will return next year. According to the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories, many mills and farmers are opting for mechanised harvesting and are buying sugarcane harvesters in large numbers. With sugarcane, however, this is not the only case. 

Tillage, sowing, planting, harvesting, reaping, threshing, plant protection, inter-cultivation, and residue management in all crops are being mechanised across States, with the federal government pushing hard for agricultural mechanisation. The Centre has released funds worth 1,591.02 crore, 2,502.69 crore, and 2,101.93 crore to state governments for agricultural mechanisation in the fiscal years 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20, respectively. 

'In ten years, the government plans to double agricultural mechanisation,' says Tomar. 

'We bought our own sugarcane harvesting machine, which has proven to be extremely beneficial. It has allowed us to save both money and energy. We no longer have to wait for cutters to cut our sugarcane. Many times, sugarcane extract was reduced due to a lack of cane cutters,' says Dilip Jadhav, who took advantage of a government-sponsored scheme to purchase a sugarcane harvester. He believes that agricultural mechanisation is critical to making agriculture profitable. 

FPOs demonstrate how to turn agriculture into a profitable business. 

Mechanisation's benefits: The Ministry of Agriculture told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that impact assessment show that mechanisation has a beneficial effect on farming, as it was stated that mechanisation has resulted in improved productivity by 17.9% and seed germination by 14.1%.

'Mechanisation also resulted in a nearly one-third reduction in running time, a 30% reduction in labour requirements, an 11% reduction in seed rate, a 26.6 percent reduction in weed cases, a 22.4 percent reduction in diesel consumption, and a 12.7% reduction in fertiliser requirements,' according to the Ministry.

According to government statistics, farmers have received subsidies for 12,66,844 machines and equipment, with 14,182 custom hiring centres, 310 high-tech hubs, and 13,080 farm machinery banks established across the States. The Centre has introduced a special dedicated scheme, Sub Mission on Agriculture Mechanization (SMAM), to boost farm mechanisation, under which a 40-50 percent subsidy is given for the purchase of different types of agricultural equipment and machinery.

What happens to the people who work as labourers?

According to Census 2011, there are 263.1 million agricultural workers in the country, with 118.8 million cultivators and 144.3 million farm labourers.

Without a doubt, mechanisation is necessary, but the livelihood of farm workers is in jeopardy. Many farm labourers are now moving to towns in search of work, but agriculture still employs a large number of people, according to agriculture expert Sampatrao Pawar.

If farmers are granted market and technology freedom, according to Anil Ghanwat of Shetkari Sanghatana, the agricultural sector will provide jobs.

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