Pune : The small farm machinery sector in India has been growing at 30-40% Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in the last two years. Small farm machinery includes power tillers and power weeders (8 hp to 16 hp), and handheld machines such as brush cutters, hedge trimmers, and chain saws. The penetration of farm machinery to small and marginal farmers is low in India because mechanization depends a lot on the land size and the topography of the land. Tractors are more prevalent in North India, while power tillers are used more in the South and Eastern parts of India, where there are many small and marginal farmers.
The size of farms is shrinking, with landholdings getting divided. Small and marginal farmers are looking for mechanization in their farms, that are less than 5 acres or so in size. VST Tillers Tractors, one of India’s leading tractor manufacturers has tapped into this burgeoning market, through the sale of its small farm machinery. The company has partnered with Pubert, a leader in the conception and fabrication of machines for soils and gardens to provide solutions for small and marginal farmers in India.
VST Tillers Tractors Ltd. which has over 50% market share in the power tiller industry, is committed to providing world-class products at an affordable price to Indian farmers, so they can move away from poor quality products from China. The goal is to enable farmers to mechanize at an affordable cost, at a time when farming costs are increasing, and labor is scarce. It might even encourage people to return to their villages to take up farming once again.
Small farm equipment such as the VST RT70 Power Weeder, priced at a little over Rs 1 lakh, is affordable and efficient. The tractor can be used for earthing up, inter-cultivation, and de-weeding. It is a multi-crop specialist best suited for ginger, turmeric, sugarcane, vegetable crops, cotton, red gram, and horticulture crops. The tractor comes with a powerful diesel engine with 5.5HP@3000RPM, ditching & earthing up attachments, and a reverse rotary for earthing up.
Farm equipment like VST RT70 Power Weeder is high in demand as marginal farmers tend to struggle with low yields, weather changes, and low farm income. There are many benefits to farm mechanization such as improved farm productivity, reduction in the cost of production, reduced reliance on manual labor, and an improvement in the income of agricultural households. Farm mechanization improves agricultural productivity, fetching better returns for farmers. It solves the problem of labor scarcity during the peak sowing and harvesting season when farmers depend heavily on external labor if the work is done manually. Labor shortage and an increase in wages, caused by migration have made it imperative to invest in the mechanization of small farms.
This equipment also improves the efficiency in the farming process. The turnaround time is reduced as farmer productivity improves and resource utilization improves. Farm yield increases from anywhere between 15 to 50 percent, depending on the crop. Input costs such as labor costs are reduced, making farming a lot more profitable.
Agricultural mechanization also enhances land-use intensification, which increases the cropping area. There is better coverage of the land area, as the use of tractors improves the efficiency of tilling and other farming operations. Mechanization is a panacea for small and marginal farmers because it helps them cope with labor shortages and falling agricultural productivity. India’s population is expected to reach 1.75 billion by 2050, which naturally implies an increased demand for food, even as the per capita arable land is declining. Agriculture is still the backbone of the Indian economy. The only way to increase agricultural production and ensure food security is by adopting farm mechanization. While there are many ways to mechanize farming, small tractors still remain as one of the easiest and most affordable ways to get the most out of farming.