How does agriculture mechanization help small land holding farms? Of course, this question may be little inappropriate in the place where term itself is restricted to the power tiller only. Agriculture is labor intensive activities; it demands lots of un-skilled to highly skilled labors for powering the farming prosperity.
Now the question is; where do we stand in manpower resource scale? Obviously, there are work forces in rural areas but still agriculture is passing in a critical situation of labor resource crunch.
This is manly due to various populist schemes of the Government that many work forces who were otherwise dependent on agriculture activities have diverted to other schemes oriented activities.
Now the most actively pursued and supported activity is the MGNREGA, this is the Act where unemployment in rural areas is taken care off. This is surely a holistic approach for the benefit of the rural unemployed masses but in search of one better option other erstwhile activity has remained in the stagnant condition.
There is shortage of labors in agriculture activities, farmers often finds it difficult to complete the farming operation due to labor shortage. Of course, there is also another side of story; in high remuneration/wages, labor is available.
But higher wages means higher investment which detracts farmer especially small land holding farm owner due to the question of farm profitability.
In agriculture sector especially in Tripura context some activities are in the subsistence form like rice cultivation. Farming activities like vegetable cultivation is still profitable compare to rice. In Tripura, presently the most profitable farm activity is the Rubber which is proved to be highly profitable and labor intensive.
Profitable farming endeavor however can sustain the farm operation with even higher wages rates but those in the subsistence form hardly leaves any scope of employing labor in higher wages rates.
Now, how do we solve these labor shortages, wages rate and maintain small land holding farms in the present context?
Can mechanization help in the present context? Let us see the case of rice harvesting manually and rice harvesting through harvester mounted in the power tiller.
From the own statement of rice farmers, it can be stated that the using of power tiller mounted rice harvester is less time consuming, affordable and wages saving.
Similarly, power tiller operated rice threshing is easy and time compared to traditional system of threshing using bullock or through manual beating.
Now-a-days due to decline in drought animals in the state, land preparation is being done through power tiller, threshing is also taken care off using power tiller and in some places rice harvesting is being carried out through machine. That means there is some kind of mechanization that is already in place.
It is the observation that there should be some kind of mechanization in some way or other form to sustain the farming sector otherwise it would very difficult by some farmers to cope up the pressure of labor shortages, labor wages and continue the farming activities.