Current status and overview of farm mechanization in Pakistan – A review
Keywords:farm mechanization, tractor population, farm power, agricultural machinery
Economic growth in Pakistani agricultural sector lags behind growth in industry and services, creating an ever widening rural-urban income fissure. Agricultural mechanization plays a strategic role in improving agricultural production and productivity in developing countries. The average farm size in Pakistan is small (2.5 acres) and small and marginal land holdings (less than 2.0 ha) account for 85% of land holdings. Mechanizing small and non-contiguous group of small farms is against ‘economies of scale’ for individual ownership of farm machinery. It was observed that there was a direct correlation between farm power availability and productivity during the past six decades. Being an agrarian country, mechanization can be called as back bone of Pakistan’s economy as it optimizes the use of biological, chemical and hydrological inputs. So far, Pakistan has only experienced selective farm mechanization as this concept has remained limited to use of tractors only and at the country level, the temporal analysis shows that an increase in tractor population from 1975 -1984 was about 341% while it was 61% from 1984-1994. At present there are about 0.94 million tractors in Pakistan, which alone provides 0.84 hp/acre. Land preparation is the only operation that is nearly 100% mechanized in the country for almost all crops with 901 thousand chisel plough and 108 thousand Mould board ploughs. The market of planting and spraying machinery has grown from 70 and 21 thousands in 2004 to 295 and 1438 thousands in 2014 respectively due to the inclination of the farming community towards mechanized sowing and spraying. The thrasher’s market in Pakistan is estimated at 20,000-30,000 units annually by sales resulting in nearly 100% mechanized threshing operation for cereal crops. By increasing the available horse power per hectare and by the proper management of agricultural machinery the average crop yield can be enhanced.