Mechanization and marginal farmers

India is a land of farmers- ‘Kisaano Ka Desh’. This comes from the legacy of our forefathers, where we have been farming for generations. Today, agriculture continues to be the largest contributor of India’s GDP, but the uncertain weather conditions and lack of scientific interventions across are the main reasons for low crop yield in the country.

It is estimated that small and marginal farmers operate on almost 85% of India’s land holdings. A majority like theirs, also faces the maximum burden of these crop failures  They ‘farm-with-a-risk’. They invest in seeds and other inputs, but are invariably left to the mercy of weather conditions and infrastructure for the crop to bloom. These cannot be controlled and hence, the small farmers continue to farm with risk and uncertainty.

However, this risk can be offset by bringing in  mechanization which is being led by many startups and companies. An effective model to make machines affordable and accessible is the renting model or the custom hiring centers. This is helping farmers mechanize their farms without huge investments.

Did you know? In India, Punjab is the state with the highest adoption rate of machines in farms with double the amount of tractors actually needed! States like Madhya Pradesh, rent out their machines which allows smallholder farmers to practice agriculture using improved machinery which reduces their efforts by almost half, improving the productivity.

Our Agricultural Ministry has also put various policies to ensure early and effective adoption of farm mechanization.

The most useful ones being:

  • establishment of Agriculture Technology Management Agencies (ATMA) to introduce new technologies to the farming community
  • Kisan Call Centres (KCC) for providing information on modern technologies to the farmers through  various toll free numbers in local languages.

To further promote farm mechanization amongst smallholder farmers, the Government is also considering to ‘provide assistance on the procurement of agricultural machinery to establish custom hiring centres’ (Source) which would further boost mechanization of farms.

With such support and nation wide appeal, we see enthusiasm amongst the farmers as well, who are looking forward to using more scientific interventions on their fields.  Each farmer is focused on improving yield, and are open to more innovative methods to enable the same

As we look at a roadmap towards achieving our Prime Minister’s mission of doubling farmer’s income, we need to ensure all Indian fields are able to benefit from mechanization.

-Dr. Ajai Gaur, National Sales Manager – (Vegetable), Mahyco