Home Others Agri-Mechanization In Nepal

Agri-Mechanization In Nepal

We can certainly say that agriculture is the backbone of national economy in the sense it is means of livelihood for majority of population, main source of GDP, income and employment opportunity in Nepal. According to data of MOF 2011 and NLFS 2008, our agriculture contributes about 34.7% to national GDP and provides part and full-time employment opportunity to 73.9% of the population.

If we look agriculture scenario of our country, rice based and maize based cropping system are dominant in Terai and Hills respectively with  Cattle, buffaloes, goats, and poultry being the major livestock of Nepal.

Area and production of cereal crops in Nepal (2010/2011)

Crops  Area  (ha) Production(MT.) Yield(kg/ha)
Paddy  1496476 4460278 2981
Maize  906253 2067722 2281
Millet  269820 302691 1122
Wheat  767499 1745811 2275
Barley  28461 30240 1063
Buckwheat  10304 8841 858
Total  3478813 8615383 2477

This table shows how paddy dominated other crops in our nation which is the result of traditional method of farming system. One of another major problem of this is that small land holding capacity by the people of our country. Let’s see the land holding capacity:

Land holding

No of holding  Area of holding Average holding size(ha) Average no of parcel/holding Average size of parcel(ha)
Mountain  298,223 218,707 0.73 4.03 0.18
Hill  1,586,406 1,038,615 0.65 3.18 0.21
Terai  1,479,510 1,396,716 0.94 3.20 0.29
Total  3,364,139 2,654,037 0.79 3.27 0.24

 

 The average land holding per family across Nepal is found to be less than 0.8 hectare. Because of small land size, unavailability of the other employment opportunities in the country, majority of farmers in the country are compelled to adopt subsistence agriculture. Due to low investment capacity and lack of infrastructure & market opportunities majority of farmers are adopting traditional technology in their production system. Due to unavailability of attractive employment opportunity in the country, the majority of young people are going abroad (mainly in Gulf and Malaysia) in search of jobs. In the first eight months of F Y 2010/11, about 0.21 million youth formally went to various countries (mainly Malaysia and Gulf) to work as labour with formal approval of government. The trend of young people leaving Nepal for foreign employment is increasing every year. The number of people visiting abroad through unauthorized means taking undue advantage of open border with India is assumed to remain at large. Hence agriculture has become job of old people and that of women farmers in the village. So, in this context there is urgent need of appropriate agricultural mechanization in Nepal. 

Importance of mechanization in agriculture

  • Timeliness of operation
  • Precision of operation
  • Improvement in the work environment
  • Enhancement of safety by a reduction in drudgery of labour
  • Reduction in loss of crops and food products
  • Increased productivity of land
  • Increased returns of the framer & improved living standards
  • Improved dignity of farmer
  • Effective utilization of farm resources & inputs
  • Improvement in the living standard of the farmer
  • Progress and prosperity in rural areas

The technological improvements in agriculture are the burning need in our society which may lead us to the revolutionary changes in the field of quality agriculture production. At present we are facing a food shortage and our country is one of the large importers of crops from India. Though India has jumped far ahead in the field of farm mechanization Nepal lacks far behind in the same sector depending largely on India and China for the farm inputs . Nepal has never focused on producing the frams machines on its own being only one machine factotry(birjung aujar karkhana) remaining closed for a decades.

Farm mechanization is the most important factor to bring about the significant improvement in agricultural productivity. Thus, there is a strong need for mechanization of agricultural operations. There are many factors that justify the strengthening of farm mechanization in our country. The timeliness of operations has assumed greater significance in obtaining optimal yields from different crops which have been possible by way of mechanization. (This example is extracted from the annual report of NARC 2011/12 ) For instance, evaluation of rice transplanter was conducted at khumaltar and farmer field of Trisuli. The field capacity of rice trans-planter was found to be 0.225 hectares per hour. The manual rice transplantation (including seedling uprooting) requires 14.5 labour man-days. Similarly, the crop yield (Khumaltar 4 variety) of machine transplantation plot was 8.36t/ha in comparison with 7.15 t/ha. The increased yield of rice by machine transplanted plot is mainly due to the uniform placement of seedling because of higher no. of tiller per hill (19.4) in machine transplanted plot than (12.75) in the manual transplanted plot. In addition, the farmer also realized that it is easier to harvest the machine transplanted plot than that traditional method. This is also correct in case of other crops too. Similarly, other farm operations like hoeing,  irrigation,  harvesting, threshing and marketing need to be performed by sophisticated farm equipment for the high yield and good farm income.

Farm power availability in Nepal:

 

 

Mechanical power=23%

Human power=36%

Animal power=41%  

 

Animate power is the main source of power, in Nepalese agriculture. Human power and animal power occupies 36 and 41 percent of the total farm power available in the country respectively. The available mechanical power in the country is only 23 percent. Most of the mechanical power is concentrated in Terai, the share of available mechanical power in Terai is 92.28% that of total available mechanical power of Nepal (FBC, 2006) leaving the hills and high hills far backward in mechanization .

Traditional farm tools and equipment are still found to be widely used in Terai.  Spade, hoe, sickle etc. are major hand tools used. Animal drawn traditional power as well as improved implements are found to be used in agricultural operations in Terai. Traditional wooden plough, iron mold board plough, disc harrow, wooden plank etc, are major animal drawn implements. More than 51 percent of holding in terai own and use animal drawn iron plough due to increased field efficiency than traditional plough and easy availability in border towns. Animal power is also widely used for threshing through tramping action. Similarly bullock carts with traditional type (wooden wheel) as well as improved type (rubber tyre wheel) is also common in Terai, as 12 % of the holdings own bullock cart in terai. 

The zero tillage and minimum tillage technologies has been tested and validated by NARC  and it is found to be preferred by the farmers in terai and the valleys. Major constraint is found to be te availability of machinery and governments support in promoting these beneficial implements. Diesel pumpsets are also found to be commonly used for pumping water in Terai.  4-wheel tractor as well 2-wheel power tiller is increasingly used for tillage and transportation. Use of thresher is also increasingly used for threshing operation. It is reported that  labour is getting scarce during peak agricultural periods ( transplanting and at harvesting rice) and their wage is increasing. From time to time, farmers are complaining on increased cost of production and reduction/unexpected fluctuation of price of certain commodities like rice, wheat, maize etc.

uld need work smartly in agriculture too which is only possible bringing mechanization in modern agriculture.

Rate of human chemical energy expenditure in various agricultural tasks

S.no Sex  Activity  Energy expenditure in Kcal Energy expenditure in joules/sbu 
1 Male  Deep ploughing 9.5 663
2 Male  Mowing wheat 7.7 537
3 Male  Mowing barley 7.0 488
4 Male  Bundling wheat 7.3 509
5 Male  Mowing with scythe 6.8 474
6 male Loading bundled crop on cart 4.8 335
7 Female  Throwing sheaves with threshing machine 5.5 384
8 Male  Tractor ploughing 4.2 293
9 Female  Hoeing  5.8 405
10 female Pounding rice 5.0 349

 

Status of Agricultural Mechanization in Nepal:

Tillage case:

  • In Nepal, as Animate power is dominant majority of tillage is done by animal power.
  • Only 26% of farmers use iron plough.
  • In Nepal about 8% farmers use tractor and 18% of it is in Terai region.
  • Most of the farmers started to use cultivator for tillage implements and so custom hiring of tractors is common.
  • Power tiller is getting so much popular.

Let’s see the operation wise draft and power requirements for some general use tillage implements: 

Tillage implements Draft and power requirement
Disc harrow 60-190 kg/m
Disc tiller 220-520 kg/m
Duch foot cultivator 130-240 kg/m
Extreme up to plough 1260.4 kg
Heavy plough 630-845 kg
Light plough 140-350 kg
Medium plough 350-630 kg
Roller  45-90 kg/m

Planting/seeding:

    • Rice is manually transplanted here. Yet the concept of rice-transplanter mechanization has not came in our country al like in Europe.
    • Wheat is broadcasted.
    • Maize and vegetables seed is dibbled.
    • More than 64% planting/seeding is performed by women.
    • Zero till drill and minimum till drill is promoted by NARC and DOA.

LET’S see the sowing and harvesting periods, seed rates and properties of seeds of some crops used in Nepal:

Crops  Sowing period Row spacing (cm) Seed rate (kg/ha) Density (kg/m3) Angle of repose (degree) Harvesting period
Paddy  May-july 20*15 or 15*15 25-30.0 768 36 November-december
Maize  June-august 75.0 17.5-20.0 592 27 August-november
Wheat  October-december 18-20.0 100-112.5 768 27 March-april
Barley  October-december 20-22.0 87.5-112.5 592 28 March-april
Arhar  May-august 30-40.0 12.5-15.0 592 29 November-april
Gram  October-november 40.0 45-50.0 711 39 March-april
Mustard  September-october 30.0 5.0 320 31 February-april
Cotton  April-june 67.5 15-20.0 405 37 September-december
Potato  October-november 60-75.0 30-35 q/ha 704 February-april
Sugarcane  September-october 60-75.0 87.5-100 q/ha October-march

 

Inter-culture operation:

  • Rice, potato, maize and vegetables need major inter-cultural operation.
  • Khurpi, sickles, kuto etc. are used for small operation.
  • Bullock drawn local plough is also used for maize inter-culture.
  • More than 60% of inter-cultural operation is done by women.

Irrigation:

  • 42% of total area is irrigated and 18% year around.
  • Only 242000 ha is irrigated by ground-water in which 208746 is through STW and 33732 ha by deep tube well.
  • 14% in terai region use centrifugal pump mainly for shallow tube well.
  • More than 100000 treadle pumps in Terai.
  • Simple low cost drip system and sprinkler irrigation is being used for vegetable cultivation.

Harvesting:

  • Harvesting is generally done manually performed by using locally made sickles.
  • Serrated sickles locally made is also popular.
  • 9 combine harvesters are in operation in kapilbastu, Nawalparashi, Rupandehi.
  • 4 wheel tractor operated reapers are also getting popular.

 

Threshing:

John Deere Tractor | Paddy Thresher in Rice farming | Swaraj 855 Fe |  Swaraj 735 Fe - YouTube

  • Somewhere in Nepal threshing is done by beating on stone/drum.
  • Now mostly animal/tractor treading is used.
  • More than 15 percent in terai use Thresher for threshing.

 

Processing:

Don't forget about the impact of COVID-19 on the rural poor and on food  security | CIMMYTChina Automatic Small Rice Machine Small Rice Huller for Farm - China Rice  Milling Machine, Rice Polisher

  • Generally the processing is done manually and mechanically.
  • Majority of cereals crop processing operation is mechanized.
  • Sheller, Huller, grinding mill, oil expeller, beaten rice mill is common for processing.
  • But there is highly needs of appropriate technology in processing of perishables/cash crops.

Let’s see provincial agriculture commodity supply status of Nepal:

Major agriculture commodity  Province 1 Province 2 Province 3 Province 4 Province 5 Province 6 Province 7 Net balance in country
Rice  Sufficient  Sufficient  Deficit  Deficit  Surplus  Highly deficit Sufficient  Slightly deficit
Wheat  Slightly deficit Surplus  Highly deficit Deficit  Surplus  Highly deficit Sufficient  Sufficient 
Maize  Surplus  Deficit  Sufficient  Sufficient  Sufficient  Deficit  Deficit  Slightly deficit
Vegetables  Sufficient  Sufficient  Deficit  Sufficient  Sufficient  Deficit  Sufficient  Sufficient 
Potato  Surplus  Deficit  Sufficient  Deficit  Sufficient  Slightly deficit Deficit  Sufficient 
Pulse crop Deficit  surplus Highly deficit Slightly deficit Surplus  Deficit  Sufficient  Deficit 
Oilseed crops  Deficit  Deficit  Highly deficit Deficit  Sufficient  Deficit  Deficit  Highly deficit
Mango  Deficit  Seasonal surplus Deficit  Deficit  Seasonal sufficient Deficit  Deficit  Deficit 
Banana  Deficit  Deficit  Deficit  Deficit  Seasonal surplus Deficit  Seasonal surplus Deficit 
Apple  Deficit  No production Deficit  Deficit  Deficit  Seasonal surplus  Deficit  Deficit 
Onion  Deficit  Seasonal surplus Deficit  Deficit  Seasonal surplus Deficit  Deficit  Deficit 
Tea  Highly surplus No production Deficit  Deficit  No production No production  No production Deficit
Coffee  Deficit  No production Surplus   Surplus  Deficit Deficit  Deficit  Deficit 
Cardamom  Highly surplus No production Deficit  Deficit  Deficit  Deficit  Deficit  Surplus 
Ginger  Surplus  Deficit  Sufficient  Deficit  Sufficient  Surplus  Deficit  Surplus 

 

Source: Agriculture statistics book,MOD,2017

Definition:

Sufficient: Need not to import and not enough for export

Surplus: Enough production for export also

Deficit: Need to import, not enough production

 

Policy related to agriculture mechanization:

  • Majority  of policy made by government related to mechanization are still neutral.
  • Agricultural policy –commercialization of agricultural commodities.
  • Energy policy
  • (CIVIL CODE) 2020- Causes land fragmentation
  • Land Reform Policy-Yet to be implemented.
  • Low Duty on imported agricultural machinery.
  • No policy to establish agril machinery industry.
  • No focus on research and development of agril machinery.
  • Lack of policy on testing agricultural machinery.

Issues and constraints related to agricultural mechanization:

  • Small and fragmented land holding with subsistence level of agriculture is the major constraints for promotion of agricultural mechanization in the country.
  • Since, women farmer has got dominant role in crop production activities (except tillage and marketing) their contribution is rarely recognized and their drudgery problem is not addressed.
  • The lack of access road & electricity distribution lines in the farm; near by market facilities, repair and maintenance workshops facilities etc. are the few infrastructure related constraints for mechanization and commercialization of agriculture in Nepal.
  • Even though, there is extension of credit institutions in Nepal, the interest rates are found to be more in rural sector than in urban sector (viz. housing loan, car loans etc.). Many co-operatives and micro credit institutions have been evolved in the villages, but they need awareness on co-operative farming for intensification and commercialization of agriculture with appropriate mechanization.
  • As the farm holding size socio-economic background of Nepal is diverse and is mainly dominated by small farmers and poor farmers, the mechanization need to be focused on appropriate mechanization technologies addressing the needs of different category of farmers and at different agro ecological zone and cropping system.
  • The major technological constraints in farmer’s perspective are difficulty in availability of spare parts, lack of training on operation and maintenance of farm machinery, inadequate facility for servicing and repair of farm machinery. Moreover the cost of spare parts is also reported to be high.
  • The blacksmiths are the deprived group in the community and their indigenous skill and technology is at the verge of extinction from the community, due to lack of commercialization and modernization of their skills as well as lack of recognition of their contribution by the community and the state.
  • Custom hiring of farm machinery (tractor, power tiller, combine harvestor, thresher, sprayer etc.) is taking place in an informal way in each village without any support from government.
  • Due to lack of clear-cut policy on agricultural mechanization, the agricultural mechanization is not found to be streamlined as per the need of the farming communities and national development goals on commercialization of agriculture in Nepal.
  • Even though the progressive farmers in the hills and terai are in search of appropriate agricultural tools and machinery, but they fail to get in the local markets. Farmers of terai are in search of rice transplanter, tractor drawn seeding equipments for bold grain crops (maize, rajma, chick pea etc.), power weeders, efficient multi crop threshers, small scale processing equipments etc. Similarly the progressive farmers in the hills are in search of efficient animal drawn implements, single yoke harnessing system, efficient hand tools, small mechanical power tillage technology in the hills and small fruit and vegetable processing equipments. R & D system in Nepal could not respond effectively to meet their demand for adaptation and development of appropriate equipments to meet their demand.
  • Agricultural Engineering Division (AED) and Agricultural Implement Research Center (AIRC) under NARC and directorate of Agricultural Engineering under Department of Agriculture are to be strengthened for effective R & D and the promotion of appropriate mechanization in Nepal.
  • For the sustainable development of agricultural mechanization in Nepal, it is needed to locally fabricate widely used agricultural tools, implements and machinery. However, the prevailing policy does not favor production of agricultural machinery locally (high custom duty of raw materials, no support in promotion, irregular power supply, high electricity cost, poor research & testing support etc.). Hence there is need of reform in policy and program to encourage and support local fabricators to fabricate/ manufacture agricultural machinery locally.
  • There is need of testing and standardization of agricultural machinery to reduce the accidents related to agricultural machinery and to provide quality standard agricultural machinery to the Nepalese farmers

 

Conclusion:

Through appropriate agricultural mechanization, the Nepalese agriculture could  be more competitive, sustainable and commercialized by enhancing productivity and profitability.There is urgent need of good and sustainable mechanization in the country to bring down the cost of cultivation, address the labour shortage in village, support intensification and commercialization in agriculture for the food security as well as for enhancing the socio-economic condition of farmers in the country. Through the collaborative efforts of government, private and cooperative sector, agricultural mechanization service and enterprise will be enhanced and accessibility of appropriate agricultural machine will be enhanced.

References:

  • NARC REPORT
  • Researchgate.com
  • Wikipedia
  • Farm machinery design by DN Sharma
  • Report of ministry of Agriculture, land management and cooperative
  • photo source ;Google

 

Prepared by:

Rabi Raut

Rabi Raut

Agriculture Engineering student

 

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