Prospects of rice mechanization in North-Eastern region

Dr Rama Kant Tiwari, ICAR-Central Institute of Agril. Engg., Bhopal (MP)Dr Rama Kant Tiwari, ICAR-Central Institute of Agril. Engg., Bhopal (MP)
There is 40.3 %  agricultural mechanization in seedbed preparation which includes 24.7% by animal drawn equipment and 15.6% by tractor drawn equipment. The percentage of farm mechanization in sowing operation is 28.9% and harvesting of wheat and paddy is mechanized 47.8% and 4.4%, respectively. There is 0.56% and 0.37% mechanization by reapers and and combines. The share of agricultural workers, draught animals and tractors and stationary engines are 5.09%, 6.37%, 51.08% and 37.46% respectively in India. By 2030 there will be 340 million agricultural workers, and 30 million draft animals. There are 250 million agricultural workers, 50 million draught animals, 4 million tractors, 6.8 million diesel engines, 21 million electric motors and 0.30 million power tillers in the country. The power tillers, diesel engines and electric motors will be 0.4 million, 7.8 million and 35 million, respectively. In country 6 lakh tractors and 0.4 lakh power tillers are produced annually. The share of Chinese power tillers is 32% in the Indian agriculture and highest selling price of power tillers is in Arunachal Pradesh. The VST Tillers and Tractors Limited and KAMCO makes of power tillers represent 45% and 23% market share of power tillers  in country.Agriculture provides livelihood support to 70% of north eastern region’s population. It produces only 1.5 % of country’s food grain production and continues to be a net importer of food grains even for its own consumption.  Agricultural land including fallow is 22.20% [varying between 37.43% in Assam and 4.40% in Arunachal] as against 54.47% in India. In the north eastern region of country, about 35% area in the region is plain except Assam where plains account for 84.44% of its total geographical area. Net sown area is highest in Assam (34.12%) followed by Tripura (23.48%). Arunachal Pradesh has lowest net sown area in the region. Cropping intensity is highest in Tripura (156.5%) followed by Manipur (152.1%), Mizoram (136.36%) and Assam (123.59%). For diversification of agriculture in north eastern part of country the promotion of proven designs based on different power sources  can be helpful in bridging the demand of onion.  Rice in NEH region is grown in varied ecosystems that spans over the high altitudes of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh; flood prone areas of the Brahmaputra and Barak valley of Assam and also upland, steep terraces, rainfed, irrigated and deep-water, Jhum and tilla land ecologies of the other states of the region. Rice is the principal food grain crop of the North Eastern hilly ecosystem followed by maize, occupying 3.51 million hectares which accounts for more than 80% of the total cultivated area of the region and 7.8 per cent of the total rice area in India while its share in national rice production is only 5.9 per cent. The total rice production of NE region is estimated to be around 5.50 million tones with average productivity of 1.57 t/ha, which is much below the national average of 2.08 t/ha. Out of the present deficiency of 1.6 million tonnes of food grains in the region, 1.0 million tonne deficiency is in rice alone. It was observed that with the introduction of new technology the cost of farm operation may reduce by 40 to 60 per cent as well as time saving of 70-80 per cent with an overall increase in yield by 10-15 per cent. Intensive farming can only be done with improved farm machinery with optimisation of agricultural inputs and conservation of natural resources. The rice farming situations in the North Eastern Hills are  direct seeded, rain fed in upland (on steep slopes), direct seeded rain fed on level bench terraces, transplanted on wet terraces; and transplanted in valley lands. The energy input is considered as one of the most important yardsticks of the productivity of land. The animals are the major source of power for seed bed preparation and sowing of crops in terrace conditions of north eastern region. The selective farm mechanization through cost effective and energy efficient improved equipment under animal based farming system in terraces may succeed in improving productivity and savings of inputs which ultimately resulted  for sustainable livelihood-security. The land holdings, draught animals population and cultivable land available in north easern states are given in table 1.Table.1 Draught animals and  available animal power per ha in hilly region statesState Land holdings, Draught Animals Ha/Animal Power number ArP 1 09298 250778 1.31Manipur 150620 63441 4.41Meghalaya 209561 114540 4.02Mizoram 178411 7045 26.69Nagaland 91880 61298 0.98Sikkim 74928 25025 7.59Tripura 578479 173527 3.23
Few improved designs have been developed and evaluated for rice cultivation in terrace condition in Sikkim and  demonstrations of such improved equipment were organized  in other states of north eastern region.Animal drawn improved wing plough It is light weight (8 kg) tillage equipment which is suitable for shallow puddling as well as ploughing for dry tillage up to 100 mm depth. The unit price is Rs 800/-. The size of the plough is 200 mm. The work rate was 200 sqm/h. It is manufactured and supplied by College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Gangtok, Sikkim. Animal drawn improved wedge plough  The hard pan of soil up to 200 mm depth can be ploughed using improved wedge plough. The weight of plough is 10.7 kg. The size of the equipment, unit price and cost of operation was 230 mm, Rs 1000/- and Rs 1650/ha. It showed higher work rate (250 sq.m/h). It is manufactured and supplied by College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Gangtok, Sikkim.Animal drawn improved helical blade puddler For puddling operation in rice terraces, improved helical blade puddler (size : 630 mm, weight : 19.6 kg and unit price : Rs 4000/-) was operated by farmers for fine seedbed preparation. It is manufactured and supplied by College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Gangtok, Sikkim..Animal drawn improved peg type puddler It is light weight puddling equipment (weight : 14 kg, unit price : Rs 3500/-) which enables better churning of soil in puddling operation. The overall dimensions of peg type puddler are 700x785x953 mm. It is manufactured and supplied by College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Gangtok, Sikkim. Animal drawn improved clod crusher-leveler-planker-puddler  It is animal drawn equipment (size : 750 mm, weight : 18.5 kg, unit price : Rs. 4500) which can perform four operations (breaking of clods, leveling, planking and puddling). Three ground wheels were provided for transporting on approach roads. It is manufactured and supplied by College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Gangtok, Sikkim.Animal drawn multi-purpose tool frame It is animal driven equipment with attachment for different unit operations in major crops e.g maize, wheat, black gram, mustard, buckwheat and dry seeding of rice. The attachments for tillage, interculture, sowing and ridge making can be attached on the main frame of the tool frame. The overall dimensions of tool frame are 730x700x960 mm and its weight is 19.8 kg. The unit cost of equipment with attachments is Rs 8500/-. It is manufactured and supplied by College of Agricultural Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, Gangtok, Sikkim.Power Tiller with Rotary AttachmentIt is a single axle power unit to till the fields in dry condition and puddle the fields for rice crop.  With other attachments it can plough fields, make ridges and interculture in the crops. This implement costs about Rs 90,000/-. It is supplied  commercially in north eastern region from Kolkata and Gauhati.Manually operated Rice Transplanter : It is a manually operated rice transplanter suitable for transplanting of mat type rice seedlings in puddled soils in rows.  It costs Rs 6,000/- and cost of operation is Rs 450/ha as compared to Rs 2250/ha with manual method. It is commercially available. It save of Rs 1800/- per ha and 170 labour -hour per ha of transplanting. Economic benefit per unit per season worked out to be Rs. 9000/-.Manually operated low land rice seeder : The  pre-germinated low land rice seeder  consists of a seed drum, main shaft, ground wheel, floats, and handle. It consists of tapered (12 degree) cylindrical container diverging to both the ends and having drop holes (No. = 8 and size = 12 mm) for gravity drop of seeds. Effective width of coverage is 80 cm with row-to-row spacing of 20 cm. As the seeder is pulled by frame handle the containers rotate due to ground wheel and seeds are dropped through the holes in rows. It weighs 15 kg.The rice seeder showed 6.8% reduced plant mortability, lower cost of gap filling by 80%, reduced cost of weeding by 54% and increased yield by12%. The economic benefit per unit per year is Rs. 30000/-. It is commercially available at Coimbatore  (Tamilnadu), Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana and at Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Bhopal.(To be contd)

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