Farmers in the district are inclining towards using mechanical tools as they can get more profit by increasing production and saving time and cost.
“As per our assessment, 100% of the farmers now use tractors or power tillers to till their land, 80% use power-run trolleys to carry harvested paddy, while 70% use threshers to thresh paddy,” said District Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer (SAAO) Sanarul Islam.
Besides, 30% farmers now use reapers to cut paddy, 25% use seeders to sow seeds and 20% use winnowing machine to fan paddy for removing dirt, Sanarul said, adding that use of these machines was unknown to the farmers even a couple of years ago.
“Use of most modern combine harvester is increasing rapidly in the district as it is convenient and includes cutting, threshing and fanning of paddy, wheat or maize in the same machine. It takes only half an hour to complete the entire process for crops on one bigha of land,” said Sanarul.
Monwar Hossain, 56, a farmer in Thataripara village of Domar upazila, said it costs only Tk 900 and takes one and a half hours to till one bigha of land three times with a tractor to make it ready for transplantation, while tilling with traditional bullock-pulled plough on the same area for the same purpose will cost Tk 1,500 and take a much longer time.
“I was worried about my three bighas of ripe Boro paddy this season as there was scarcity of day labourers, and natural calamity caused damage to crops. Finding no way, I hired a reaper along with operator to cut my entire paddy in two hours and then thresh it with thresher machine in two more hours on the same day,” said Harimohon Barman of Keshba village in Kishoreganj upazila.
Abdul Wahab, 50, owner of a tractor in Titpara village under Dimla upazila, said, “I completed tilling of my 10 bighas of land in a week at the beginning of this Boro cultivation season. I till other people's land on contact basis and earn Tk 4,000 to Tk 5,000 per day.”
SAAO Sanarul Islam said cultivation cost of Boro paddy on one bigha of land by the traditional method is around Tk 14,000 whereas it is only Tk 11,000 to Tk 12,000 by the mechanized method.
“The government has launched a project, titled Increasing Cropping Productivity through Farm Mechanization, to encourage farmers to go for mechanized cultivation. The government is providing tools to selected farmers at 50% subsidised rate,” said district DAE Deputy Director Abul Kashem Azad.