08 February 2021, New Delhi, IN: Agricultural mechanization is crucial in agriculture sector as it contributes towards improving the efficiency and effectivity of the inputs used in the crop production thereby also increasing the productivity of crops. This also reduces drudgery associated with various farm operations.
Taking into consideration the above, to boost the farm mechanization in the country, a special dedicated scheme ‘Sub Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM)’ has been introduced by Government of India in 2014-15. The scheme aims at ‘reaching the unreached’ by making farm machines accessible and affordable for the small and marginal farmers (SMFs) through establishment of Custom Hiring Centers(CHCs) , creating Hubs for hi-tech & high value farm equipment and Farm Machinery Banks.
Distribution of various subsidized agricultural equipment and machines to individual farmer is also one of the activities under the scheme. Purchasing of farm machines for SMFs is not financially feasible therefore custom hiring institution provide for hiring option of machines to SMFs. Creating awareness among stakeholders through demonstration of machine operations and skill development of farmers and youth and others are also the components of SMAM. The performance testing and certification of machines at designated testing centers located all over the country are ensuring farm machinery qualitatively, effectively and efficiently.
During 2014-15 to 2020-21, a sum of Rs.4556.93 crores of funds have been released under the scheme to the States and other implementing institutions. As of now, more than 13 lakh agricultural machines have been distributed and more than 27.5 thousand Custom Hiring Institutions established. For 2021-22 Rs. 1050 crore budget has been allocated for SMAM which is more than the previous year.
The programs and schemes of GOI on farm mechanization have resulted in progressive increase in the availability of farm power per unit area for performing various agricultural operations. The farm power availability has increased from 2.02 kw/ha in 2016-17 to 2.49 kw/ha in 2018-19. There has been significant increase in adoption of agriculture machines over a period of time which has found expression in the phenomenal expansion of cropped area, cropping intensity and the country’s agricultural production.