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Mechanisation offers hope for paddy farmers

Naina J A, March 25, 2013, DHNS: 2:39 IST
Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) in Mangalore has been creating awareness on the mechanisation in paddy cultivation in Dakshina Kannada district for the last two years in the wake of reports of decline in cultivation due to increasing labour cost and shortage of labourers.

As a result of this, in this financial year, mechanisation has been taken up 73.44 hectares in the district.

Equipment were used for paddy cultivation in 14.7 hectares in Mangalore taluk, 28.8 hectares in Bantwal taluk, 11.8 hectares in Belthangady taluk, 14.14 hectares in Puttur taluk and four hectares in Sullia taluk, said KVK Coordinator Dr Hanumanthappa and subject expert Harish Shenoy.

The farmers have availed the services of machines for transplanting, harvesting and levelling land, which otherwise would be expensive as well as a difficult task with the shortage labourers, said Dr Hanumanthappa.

“The KVK has been creating awareness on mechanisation through demonstration in the fields,” said Shenoy. The KVK had demonstrated on mechanisation in paddy cultivation in five hectare land in Bantwal, Mangalore and Belthangady during 2011-12 and 13 hectare land in 2012-13. The KVK is planning to demonstrate both transplantation of paddy saplings and harvesting in a five-hectare land during 2013-14. The KVK will also demonstrate on the use of konoweeder for clearing weeds.

“With six labourers, a machine can transplant paddy saplings in four acres (approximately 1.5 hectares) in a day,” said Shenoy.

With the help of KVK, a Hasiru Chakra Raitha Sangha has been formed in Bantwal, aiming at helping individual farmers and farmers’ groups to take up mechanised paddy cultivation in a cost-effective way. On gaining experience in the field under the supervision of KVK scientists, Pashupathi Gowda, a farmer, and others decided to organise themselves into a group to customise their service of transplanting and harvesting using machines. Under Agri tech Management (ATMA) scheme, the group was given a seed fund of Rs 10,000 for the setting up the group. With 20 members in the group, it has covered about 18 hectares during 2012-13.

Pashupathi Gowda said that the paddy growing farmers were convinced of the advantages of mechanisation over conventional methods. A few farmers, who were reluctant initially, have decided to use machines. The group has purchased a transplanter and a reaper. The group members received several calls from farmers to undertake similar mechanised paddy cultivation in their villages, he said.

Dr Hanumanthappa said this model to take up farming activities is beneficial. Mechanisation helps farmers to save time besides reducing dependence on labourers.

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