India has welcomed and made the best out of the advancements in agriculture over past few decades. While Green Revolution of the 1970s is one of the biggest milestones in this regard, farm mechanization is the talk of the present. The latest trends suggest that considerable numbers of farmers have started opting for machines, beyond tractors, thanks to a number of favourable aspects. The following sections share some of the exciting trends about the growing acceptance of agricultural machinery in India.
Farm Power Sources – From Animate to Technology-based
The contribution of animate sources (farm workers and draught animals) towards farm power dramatically reduced from about 92% in the 1960s to about 9.5% in 2014-15. At the same time, the contribution of mechanical and electrical sources increased significantly from about 8% to about 90.5% over the same period. Another interesting trend is about the degree of farm mechanization which increased slowly from 0.48 KW/ha to 1.84 KW/ha between mid-1970s and 2013-14 but gained momentum to reach 2.02 KW/ha by 2016-17 (Source: Press Information Bureau). Each of these trends indicates the growing approval of farm machines.
Upward Demand of Agricultural Machinery
The number of tractors sold between 2010 and 2014 increased from 4,02,586 to 6,34,151 while the number of power tillers increased from 38,794 to 56,000 over the same period (Source: EIMA Agrimach). Also, the contribution of tractors towards farm power increased from 118.2 million KW in 2011-12 to 136.7 million KW in 2013-14 (Source: ICFA).
It is also notable that the farm mechanization market value that was INR 320 billion in 2015-16 is estimated to reach INR 400 billion by 2019-20, growing at the CAGR of 5.74% (Source: ICFA). The urge for increased productivity, decline in farm labour availability and continuous migration from rural to urban areas are some of the factors behind these trends.
Innovations in Women-Friendly Machines
About 60% of women in India are involved in agricultural activities. The statistics are high as compared to 40% of Latin America, 44% of Thailand and even 42% of the world. As a result, there is a growing trend of designing women-friendly agricultural machinery in India. Some of these machines include the hand-operated maize dehusker-cum-sheller, finger guard for flower plucking, paddle-operated paddy thresher and strippers for sugarcane and groundnut (Source: UN-SCAM).
Increasing Initiatives from Government
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare launched the Sub-mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) in 2014-15 to promote agricultural machines among farmers with small and marginal land holdings. The mission also extended its reach to the areas where mechanization is still at very low level.
Promotion of farm machinery is one of the many aims of the National Food Security Mission. One of its achievements during 2015-16 was the distribution of huge numbers of rotavators,drill-cum-planters, laser land levellers, power-operated spray pumps, tractor-operated sprayers and many other machines in the states of Punjab and Haryana (Source: Agricoop).
Other similar programs include RKVY and NHM. Setting up of more numbers of research, development and testing units is going to enhance the popularity of agricultural machinery in India. In few years from now, we would have much more exciting trends about farm mechanization in hand.