Tractor sellers have logged in increased sales, driven mainly by the demand for haulage for growing construction activities in the suburban and rural areas, operators said.
Tractor sales rose 10 percent year-on-year to 4,150 units in 2015, according to operators.
“We see higher demand for tractors for haulage purposes. It appears that construction activities are increasing in rural areas,” said Subrata Ranjan Das, business director of ACI Motors, which markets tractors and power tillers.
Many brick kiln owners, rice millers and traders buy tractors for carrying purposes, he said, adding that the demand for the engineering vehicle for cultivation purposes has also risen.
The public sector development works in suburban areas have also fuelled demand, said Sadid Jamil, managing director of Metal (Pvt) Ltd. He said the use of tractors in cultivation is also rising as a whole.
But the demand for power tillers for cultivation has been slack for the last several months for low prices of paddy and discontinuation of subsidised sales of the machinery by the government, said industry insiders.
“We had good sales in the first half of last year. But the second half had not been good and the trend of sluggish demand continues to date,” said Das, adding that sales of power tillers might drop up to 35 percent this year.
Marketers said nearly 40,000 power tillers were sold in Bangladesh in 2015 mainly for mechanised tilling.
Bangladesh now cultivates 95 percent of farmland by power tillers and tractors due to faster growth in agricultural mechanisation in the last three decades.
The share of area cultivated by tractors and power tillers increased to 95 percent in 2015 from 30 percent in mid-1990s, according to a recent report by the International Food Policy Research Institute.
Abul Kalam Azad, general manager of Chittagong Builders, a leading seller of power tillers, said farmers are less enthusiastic about buying power tillers because of the low prices of paddy.
The price of medium-quality paddy, like Swarna, which went up as high as Tk 680 per maund at the beginning of aman harvest in November, is now trading as low as Tk 560 per maund at the growers level, said KM Layek Ali, general secretary of the Bangladesh Auto, Major and Husking Mills Association.
The prices of coarse rice, the benchmark for market price, were between Tk 32 and Tk 34 a kilogram last week, down 8.33 percent from the same time a year earlier, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
Azad said his firm has cut prices of power tillers to attract customers. “Still there is no vibrancy in the market this year.”