NEW DELHI, India – According to an article by The Times of India, farmers in India are receiving help that may help improve the way they farm in the future. A farmers’ field school (FFS) has been started in the district Krishi Vigyan Kendra with the goal of educating Indian farmers about the advantages that can be gained from using hi-tech farming equipment for paddy cultivation. The school not only seeks to educate current farmers, but it also aims to generate interest among younger individuals so that they may enter the field of agriculture someday.
By making use of the mechanized farming techniques demonstrated by the FFS, farmers can save 35-40% of the time required to cover a paddy field. With the time saved, it follows that farmers have a greater opportunity to engage in more productive and efficient crop cultivation. According to recent developments in the Indian labor market, these farmers will need every advantage available to them in order to maintain or improve their current crop yields.
Bloomberg reports that India is experiencing increased labor costs, which has led to a labor shortage. The number of agricultural workers in India was down 54.6 percent in 2011 according to the latest census data. Additionally, labor costs are up 20 percent. This is unwelcome news for a country that is the world’s second largest producer of rice, wheat, cotton, and sugar.
But all is not lost. The labor shortage has resulted in the increased use of mechanized farm equipment, such as tractors, which can help farmers maintain similar crop yields despite the sharp decrease in the number of hands available on farms across India. This is especially true during the monsoon season, which accounts for approximately 70 percent of rainfall. Half of the region’s cultivated land receives rainfall during the monsoon season. This means a good monsoon can help boost farm output, and having mechanized farm equipment handy can help farmers take full advantage of the monsoon rainfall.
Businesses recognize the potential profit that can be gained by addressing the increased demand for mechanized farm equipment in India, especially in preparation for monsoon season. Samuel R. Allen, Chairman and CEO of Deere and Company sums the situation up perfectly: “There is a growing demand in India for John Deere Products.”
John Deere is one of the world’s largest makers of farm equipment. In October 2013, Deere opened an $80 million factory in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The factory will produce agricultural equipment for the local Indian farm market and could bring approximately 1,000 jobs to the area.
It is reasonable to project that both the labor shortage and the spread of education regarding the benefits of mechanized farm equipment could help companies that make farm equipment increase profits and provide more jobs. Companies that develop mechanized farm equipment can benefit greatly from the labor shortage and increased education in India, while simultaneously providing Indian farmers with the equipment necessary to ensure India can continue to feed its ever-growing population.
– Cavarrio Carter