Community Transformation Through Mechanization in India

Posted by on November 28th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

Decades of innovation in seed technology and crop protection products, along with increased access to fertilizer, has generated phenomenal yield growth for India’s small-scale farmers.

Nevertheless, labor productivity on small farms is very low. Family members do the bulk of the farm work because mechanization is more expensive than family or hired labor.

Public-private partnerships are expanding access to mechanization, increasing incomes and stimulating investments in local communities.

Custom Hiring Centres

Family harvesting crops, near Jaipur, India. Read more about labor productivity and mechanization in India in the 2017 Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report®) in the chapter, “Farming India’s Future”.

Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs) give farmers affordable access to mechanization without having to own the machines themselves. Farmers can rent tractors and implements for soil preparation, seeding, application of nutrients and crop protection and harvesting.

CHCs are centrally located to serve several villages, reducing the time and cost of transporting the equipment.

Equipment manufacturers, such as John Deere India, provide the equipment and training in agronomy practices and equipment usage. State governments contribute financial support and invest in infrastructure for the Centres.

Local entrepreneurs are hired to operate the Centres, deploy and maintain the equipment, as well as manage the contracts with the farmers.

Did You Know? The Indian Ministry of Agriculture estimates mechanization improves farm yields by as much as 30% and reduces input costs up to 20% [1]

Increasing Productivity and Improving Lives

A public-private partnership promoting mechanization has helped this community of rice farmers increase their yields by 40 percent per acre. Photo: John Deere India

John Deere India is partnering with Madurai Non-Formal Education Centre (MNEC) to help small-scale rice farmers in state of Tamil Nadu transition to an integrated mechanized approach that saves time and labor while improving rice yields and incomes.

Interviews with village members and other stakeholders revealed several barriers to mechanization: a large supply of free or cheap labor, the high cost of equipment, a lack of training and a resistance to change.

To overcome these barriers, six farmers were selected to manage a 10-acre demonstration plot using the new approach, including machine transplantation, soil testing, water management, nursery preparation and weed and pest control.

John Deere India and MNEC support the holistic development of the community. They have upgraded the schools, provide tuition support for local children and offer skills training classes for adults. Photo: John Deere India

The farmers have seen reductions in input and labor costs, and they have optimized their water usage. With the proper use of mechanization, yields have increased by 40 percent per acre. Seed use has decreased by 30 percent and weeding time is reduced due to proper herbicide usage.

One village leader said, “People from nearby villages keep asking us how we got 2.75 metric tons of rice per acre. This is a proud thing for us.”



Learn more about public-private partnerships that are transforming communities in India in the 2017 Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report®): A World of Productive Sustainable Agriculture, pages 44-45.

[1] Kapur, R. et al., “Transforming Agriculture Through Mechanisation: A Knowledge Paper on Indian Farm Equipment Sector,” Grant Thornton (India), 2015.
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1 Comment

  1. Santosh Sahu says:

    Good initiative. Keep up the good work. I appreciate.