Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday said the government plans to double the area under mechanised farming over ten years and urged the industry to make small utility machines that can be of use for smallholder farmers in the country.

Addressing the annual general meeting of Tractor and Mechanisation Association, Tomar lauded the farm machinery makers for locally manufacturing nearly 95 per cent of the equipment, and he hoped country’s farm equipment exports would increase in the coming years.

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The Minister said that Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanisation had been implemented in all the States so that they can promote the use of farm mechanisation and increase the ratio of agricultural power. The objective is to increase the reach of farm mechanisation to small and marginal farmers, while promoting efforts to improve the economy by promoting custom hiring centres, creating hubs for high-tech and high-value agricultural equipment, creating awareness among stakeholders and capacity building, he added.

Custom hiring scheme

The Minister said through custom hiring scheme, the government is trying to provide expensive and large advanced agricultural equipment to the farmers on rent basis. There is a provision of up to 40 per cent subsidy in the project cost to the individual farmer, while a group of farmers can get a subsidy up to 80 per cent, the maximum amount of which is ₹10 lakh. Farmers in the northeast can receive support up to 95 per cent of the project cost.

Crop residue management scheme

Through the crop residue management scheme, introduced by the Union Agriculture Ministry in 2018, machinery is provided to the farmers to prevent burning of straw. Subsidies are also provided to farmers for purchase of machinery through a custom hiring centre. During the last two years, support of ₹1,178.47 crore has been given to farmers in Punjab, Haryana, UP and Delhi. Out of the budget ₹600 crore for the current year, ₹548.20 crores was given to the States in advance, he said.

According to the Minister, farm mechanisation can improve productivity by 30 per cent and reduce the cost of farming by 20 per cent.

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