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Agricultural Mechanization in India: A Study on the Ownership and Investment in Farm Machinery by Cultivator Households across Agro-ecological Regions

Anupam Sarkar

Millennial Asia, 2020, vol. 11, issue 2, 160-186

Abstract: Despite the signs of distress and fatigue in Indian agriculture, the use of machines in crop operations has increased manifold in recent times. Proponents of mechanization argue that mechanization saves time and cost, and improves agricultural productivity. The Government of India has also encouraged mechanization through subsiding farm machinery and establishing custom hiring centres. Earlier studies have found significant regional variation in the spread of agricultural mechanization. Cost of cultivation data collected by Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) reveal that although the share of machine labour in the cost of cultivation per hectare has increased, there exist significant differences across crops in the use of mechanical input. Empirical studies in different regions have found a significant presence of the rental market for services of agricultural machinery. However, in recent years there have been very few studies on the patterns of mechanization based on household-level data on ownership and investment in agricultural machinery and implements. Agro-ecological characteristics of a region are said to have a significant impact on the level of mechanization. Ownership of machinery is also significantly influenced by the factors such as size of landholding, access to irrigation and access to institutional credit. The pattern of investment and ownership of machinery has important implications on the profitability of farming. This article uses unit-level data from the All-India Debt and Investment Survey (NSS 70th round 2013) to study the pattern of agricultural mechanization in India based on the ownership of agricultural machinery and implements. Using ownership and expenditure data it studies the questions of recent patterns in agricultural mechanization across agro-ecological regions and land classes.

Keywords: Agricultural mechanization; tools and implements; machinery and equipment; cultivator households; crop operations; agro-ecological regions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1177/0976399620925440

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