Experts have stressed the need for mechanised farming to boost the country’s agricultural production.
County’s gross crop production can be increased by 5-6 percent through agricultural mechanisation. Even production costs and crop losses will come down drastically, if technology is used in farming, they opined.While talking to the daily sun on Sunday, Director of Boosting Crop Production Through Farm Mechanisation Project Sheikh Nazim Uddin said crop losses will come down to 5-10 percent, from the existing 10-12 percent, every year, if agricultural production can be mechanised.
“If we can reduce crop losses by 5-6 percent, then we can increase the country’s gross agricultural production by 5- 6 percent,” he opined.
He said more machinery means less lobour. So if the farmers can use machines at work, labour costs in the sector will come down.
“So we can easily increase our gross agricultural production by using machines in farming,” said Sheikh Nazim Uddin.
The agricultural mechanisation is increasing fast in developing countries. Without mechanisation, it will not be possible to maintain multiple cropping patterns which need quick land preparation, planting, weeding, harvesting and processing.
Crop damage can be reduced by 5-10 percent using machines like power-tiller, harvester, reaper, rice trans-planter, seeder, bed-planter etc.Countries like Thailand, India, Vietnam, Korea and Japan are more advanced in agriculture than Bangladesh, as they are fully mechanised.
Presently, the government has laid emphasis on agriculture and is funding for rapid agricultural mechanisation. Labour costs are usually high during the paddy harvesting period. Scarcity of farmhands also hampers harvesting during the time. Crops are also damaged by rain or other disasters during the harvesting time due to labour crisis.
If the farmers can use machines during sowing time then crop duration can be reduced by 10-12 days, plantation by 8-10 days and harvesting time by 10-15 days.
Farmers will be able to cultivate an extra crop during a year, if they are fully mechanised, which will increase the gross agricultural production of the country, said the official.
A mini-combined harvester can cut, thresh and fill paddy or wheat in one operation and it takes an hour for harvesting one bigha of land.
With the machine, the cost of harvesting one acre of land is Tk 2,500-3,000 while harvesting one acre of land with labours is Tk 7,000-8,000.
The use of combine harvester can reduce the cost around 60-65 percent than the regular one, and it also cuts crop losses by 2 percent and spares time by 70-82 percent.
A reaper machine is used for cutting rice and wheat. And it can cut 30-35 decimals of lands of rice and 45-60 decimals of land of wheat in an hour. It also reduces cost by 80 percent and time by 82 percent.
A walking rice transplanter can plant 30-40 decimals of land in an hour, reducing the cost by 67 percent, saving seeds around 5 kg per acre and increasing production by 8-10 percent.
The country’s farm mechanisation is 90 percent in land tilling, 80 percent in spraying insecticide, 70 percent in crop threshing, 65 percent in weeding, 63 percent in irrigation, 0.1 percent in planting, 1 percent in spreading fertiliser, 0.8 percent in crop cutting, 2 percent in drying, 4 percent in warehouse, said Dr Md Monjurul Alam professor of Farm Power and Machinery at Agricultural Engineering and Technology department of Bangladesh Agriculture University (BAU).