Farm Mechanization in Nepal; challenges, opportunities and importance
Nepal is an agricultural country having a diversified type of climate condition. From apple to watermelon, tomato to potato and every type of food crops to cash crops can be grown here because of its diversified type of climatic condition. The agriculture contributes to about 34.7% to national GDP and provides part and full-time employment opportunities to 73.9% of its population (MOF 2011 & NLFS 2008). The average landholding per family across Nepal is found to be less than 0.8 hectares. Because of small land size, unavailability of the other Small land holdings, low investment capacity of the farmer, there is no charming in agriculture production. Lack of suitable machines suitable for different farm operations, lack of repair and service facilities locally, lack of trained manpower and high cost of machines farmers have to depend on the traditional system of farming.
Farm mechanization is the application and use of engineering principles, various power sources and improved farm tools and equipment, with a view to reducing the drudgery of the human beings and draught animals to enhance the cropping intensity, precision and timeliness of efficiency of utilization of various crop inputs and reduce the losses at different stages of crop production. Farm mechanization has vital role in higher agricultural production, timely cultivation, sowing or planting, inter-cultivation, insect pest control, water use efficiency technologies, harvest & post-harvest management improves quality production and productivity include storage to feed the nation, in addition, rural employment generation for the benefit rural youth.
Farm mechanization has a significant role in the commercialization of agriculture. Yet there is insufficient development and implementation of farm mechanization in Nepal. There is no doubt that there has been an increment in the use of farm machinery still it requires more for the augmentation of agriculture products as well as reduce the timeliness of operation. Due to outmigration of youth from the villages to nearby cities and even abroad in search of jobs since the last few years, lack of agricultural labour is well experienced in the villages all over Nepal. Because of the lack of agricultural labour and the high cost of cultivation, there is an increasing demand for appropriate agricultural machinery by the farmers.
Significance of farm mechanization
- Timeliness of operation
- Precision of operation
- Improvement in the work environment
- Enhancement of safety by a reduction in drudgery of labour
- Reduction in loss of crops and food products
- Increased productivity of land
- Increased returns of the framer & improved living standards
- Improved dignity of farmer
- Effective utilization of farm resources & inputs
- Improvement in the living standard of the farmer
- Progress and prosperity in rural areas
The technological improvements in agriculture are the burning need in our society which may lead us to the revolutionary changes in the field of quality agriculture production. At present we are facing a food shortage and our country is one of the large importers of crops from India. Though India has jumped ahead in the field of farm mechanization still we are in the infant stage of agricultural mechanization and very less attention is given by our government for the promotion of agricultural mechanization in the country. Even there are more than dozens of international tractor company like Sonalika, John Deree, Mahindra etc in India but still, we don’t have a single one.
Farm mechanization is the most important factor to bring about the significant improvement in agricultural productivity. Thus, there is a strong need for mechanization of agricultural operations. There are many factors that justify the strengthening of farm mechanization in our country. The timeliness of operations has assumed greater significance in obtaining optimal yields from different crops which have been possible by way of mechanization. (This example is extracted from the annual report of NARK 2011/12 ) For instance, evaluation of rice transplanter was conducted at khumaltar and farmer field of Trisuli. The field capacity of rice transplanter was found to be 0.225 hectares per hour. The manual rice transplantation (including seedling uprooting) requires 14.5 labour man-days. Similarly, the crop yield (Khumaltar 4 variety) of machine transplantation plot was 8.36t/ha in comparison with 7.15 t/ha. The increased yield of rice by machine transplanted plot is mainly due to the uniform placement of seedling because of higher no. of tiller per hill (19.4) in machine transplanted plot than (12.75) in the manual transplanted plot. In addition, the farmer also realized that it is easier to harvest the machine transplanted plot than that traditional method. This is also correct in case of other crops too. Similarly, other farm operations like hoeing, irrigation, harvesting, threshing and marketing need to be performed by sophisticated farm equipment for the high yield and good farm income.