Mechanization: Powering Agriculture, Empowering Farmers
India is one of the fastest developing countries in the world and agriculture contributes to a significant share of this development. It is also agriculture on which each of us rely, for our daily nutrition, growth and well-being. However as the world fast-tracks urbanization in tandem with development, the land area available for agricultural expansion has become scarce. With an increasing population to feed, we must maximize the yield from existing farmland.
Accelerated urbanization has also created a labour shortage in agriculture. Over 30.57 million of the agricultural workforce have migrated to cities over the past 7 years in search of more lucrative prospects. It’s no wonder that farm labour costs have been rising. Despite such challenges, we must increase our food production by 70% by 2050 to meet growing demands. This has opened up an avenue for the growth of mechanization in India.
As of today, only 30% of agricultural activities are mechanized in the country, and this primarily consists of tractors to plough fields in preparation for planting. But with technology leap-frogging ahead, the stage is set for India’s mechanization revolution.
Farm mechanization holds great potential in efficiently managing and delivering agricultural outputs. Acres of fields that would take several farm workers days to harvest, takes a little over a couple of hours for one combine harvester. This efficiency is not just limited to harvesting but all stages of farming such as land preparation, sowing and tending to crops.
On the other hand, initial cost of purchasing machinery can be a barrier for most micro, small and medium scale farmers. In India, close to 80 percent of farmland comprises millions of small-scale farmers who cannot afford them. But today, farmers are running Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs), where they rent out their agricultural equipment to other farmers who cannot afford to buy them. In fact, over 1205 such CHCs are present just in Madhya Pradesh, a state which is leading the mechanization revolution in the country.
With just 3% of the earth’s surface area available to grow crops, efficient, low-cost mechanization of farming can help drive a positive shift in the industry. With the use of agri-machineries, farm production can increase by 20% and bring down the cost of cultivation by 20-25 % – helping feed millions of hungry people.
By combining cutting-edge technology with the best farming practices, India can become a leader in agricultural production across the world.