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Posted at: Jun 12, 2019, 7:56 AM; last updated: Jun 12, 2019, 9:23 PM (IST)

Paddy farmers skeptical about mechanised transplantation

Lack of technical knowhow deters them from using machinery

Manmeet Singh Gill

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 11

Even as the agriculture sector is staring at shortage of farm hands during paddy transplantation, the mechanised system has failed to catch the fancy of farmers mainly due to lack of technical knowhow to grow nursery.

Farmers say the government and the department concerned have not created awareness about the new technique, so they are not ready to spend money on paddy transplantation machines even though these are available at 50 per cent subsidy.

“The main reason behind farmers not going for the machines is lack of technical knowledge. Everyone faces shortage of labour and also labour price has gone up. Farmers will do what they know and has been doing for decades,” said a farmer, Kuljit Singh Malawali.

The walk-behind transplanter machine is efficient and economical as compared to manual transplantation. It takes a day for five men to cover an acre for which charges range between Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,000. On the other hand, a walk-behind machine costing Rs 3 lakh transplants three acres a day with only two men and 4.5 litres of petrol.

Agriculture Engineer Ranbir Singh Randhawa said, “The riding model can transplant 8-10 acres a day and it costs around Rs 12 lakh. At present, five machines are available in the district. In the last season, around 400 acres were transplanted mechanically.”

According to Randhawa, under a government scheme, farmers are being given around 15 machines at a subsidy of 50 per cent. Efforts are being made to train farmers in new technique of nursery plantation, he added.

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