Slow adoption of mechanisation technology has been a key reason for low yields and inefficiencies in agriculture in Pakistan, resulting in lower profit for farmers, said Dr Muhammad Waqar Akram, a lecturer in the Department of Farm Machinery and Power, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.
He is attending Modern Agriculture Workshop of China-Pakistan Regional Innovation Institute for Modern Agriculture, organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China.
The five-month workshop, starting from the end of March, provides inclusive training in the use and maintenance of modern agricultural machinery, field management, etc.
According to Akram, there are no updated existing proper studies or surveys conducted on the present status of farm mechanisation in Pakistan. However, according to rough studies, the utilisation of agricultural machinery and adoption rate is very low.
“In Pakistan, farm mechanisation has been limited to a few basic tools for land preparation and outdated models of combined harvesters when harvesting grain crops,” he said. Infusion of right mechanisation technology will be crucial for productivity increase and growth of agriculture in Pakistan.
In his opinion, the machines that should be popular and common in Pakistan are related to rice, cotton, maize and sugarcane crops as these are the major crops, but use of machinery for these crops is very low or zero.
These machines include planters for cotton, maize and sugarcane crops, transplanter for rice crop, cotton picker for cotton crop, maize harvesters, sugarcane harvesters, drone spraying technology, etc.
The planters and harvesters/ diggers for vegetables and other crops also have a huge potential as these can be used on a wide scale.
He also noted that due to the seasonal nature of agriculture, the farm machinery remains idle for much of the time, incurring unnecessary high costs unless proper alternative use of such machinery in the off-season is made.
To cope with this situation, multi-crop planters and multi-crop harvesters have a huge potential and wide scope.
Lack of awareness, low standard manufacturing of agricultural machinery, lack of repair and replacement facilities and weak knowledge transmission are hindering Pakistani farmers from reaping the benefits of modern agricultural machinery.
THE ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THE CHINA ECONOMIC NET
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2022.