Wednesday, 14 April, 2021

Mechanisation Boosts Agriculture

In every stage of human evolution, the technology has played a crucial role in transforming the society. Known as the science of craft, technology is the uses of tools which enable the people to ease their works and way of living. It is not just the phenomenon of the modern time. The people even in the ancient time used rudimentary technology. For example, they had discovered the technique to control fire and augmented the sources of food. The discovery of wheels had brought a revolution in the movement of people. Technological innovation had triggered the agriculture and industrial revolution in the 19th century. The invention of steam engine, printing press, telephone and internet, among others, marked the historic moments, which boosted large scale production, productivity and efficiency.

Technology is synonymous with modernisation. The countries that invented and applied new technology have made strides in economy but those unable to benefit from it have lagged behind. One of the reasons behind the backwardness of Nepal is its inability to promote technological innovation and application of scientific ideas and discoveries. The country is known as agriculture one but its traditional methods of farming have limited it to the means of subsistence. The failure to modernise and commercialise the agro sector has kept the nation into the state of continued poverty and underdevelopment for centuries. However, over the years, the successive governments have realised the need to mechanise the agriculture sector that is still a mainstay of economy.

According to the news report published in this daily the other day, the country’s agriculture has made a drastic shift from manual labour to mechanisation, thanks to Prime Minister Agriculture Modernsiation Project (PMAMP) introduced in the fiscal year 2016/17. The project has emphasised to modernise and commercialise agriculture to achieve self-reliance in agro products. Under this project, the government has allocated budget to mechanise the tilling, weeding and harvesting and to expand market infrastructure. It has been providing subsidies of up to 85 per cent on agricultural tools. The project has divided the entire agro territory into pockets, blocks, zone and super zone clusters. Farmers have been encouraged to use machineries in the Terai and inner-Terai, enabling to enhance productivity and accrue more profits. One visible change it has brought is the gradual replacement of traditional implements such as spade, plow and oxen which has greatly minimised manual labour input, resulting in the increase in agricultural production.

According to the authorities, famers have adopted technologies in producing paddy, potato, maize and wheat. In Chitwan and Bardiya, modern tools have been used for growing paddy saplings in nursery, planting, harvesting and threshing. In Dang, modern machines have been applied in maize farming for multi crop seed drilling. This has helped reduce investment of farmers by 65-70 per cent as the seed drilling enables to plant corn seed on one bigha per hour. It is true that there exist a lot of challenges to mechanise the agro sector owing to small and fragmented land holdings, subsistence nature of agriculture, difficult terrain and poor infrastructure but these impediments will be overcome with the increase in investment and its proper utilisation. Nepal cannot achieve the desired level of prosperity if the agro sector is not placed in high priority. Its vision of building socialist-oriented economy can hardly be realised if economy conditions of farmers do not improve dramatically.