Mini tractors, big gains.
AHMEDABAD: Until three years ago Rupesh Pandya, a Nadiad based farmer used to rent out a big tractor of 30 HP (horse power) or more for the agricultural activities on his farm land which used to cost him Rs 18,000 every crop season. Two years ago, Pandya bought a mini tractor of 15 HP for the farming on his six bigha land and operational costs came down to Rs 1200 and his profits increased three times.
The sales of mini or low-cost tractors have risen phenomenally in last three years since its production began by top tractor manufacturers including Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), Escorts Ltd and Sonalika among others. Over 60% of the small tractors in the country are manufactured in Gujarat.
M&M has a contractual agreement with Rajkot based Field Marshal for manufacturing of its mini tractor Yuvraj 215 while Escorts Ltd manufactures mini tractors in a joint venture with Rajkot's Amul Industries Pvt Ltd (AIPL).
Industry experts believe that pricing of mini tractors, non-availability of cheap labour, increasing number of farmers with small land holdings and multi-utility of mini tractors has led to increase in the sales of mini-tractors of 12 HP to 20HP in the state.
In 2013-14, 6.3 lakh tractors were sold in India out of which 3.7% of them were mini tractors. Out of the 22,000 mini tractors sold in 2013-14, 14,000 were in Gujarat, followed by 4000 in Maharashtra.
"A bullock cart costs around Rs 2 lakh and requires maintenance all around the year as the farmer has to take care of the bulls. A mini-tractor is priced in the range of Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh which is affordable for the farmers with small share of land," said Bharatendu Kapoor, senior vice-president, sales channel and customer care, M&M Ltd.
"These tractors are also being utilized majorly in inter cultivation and for orchards farm. Inter cropping by bullocks are time consuming and maintenance is very costly too. Moreover these tractors are being utilized for minor haulage with lesser time," said H N Gohil, Zonal Head of Gujarat Region, Sonalika Group.
"This segment in Gujarat has grown by 70% in first quarter of current year as compared to last year. Contribution of this segment has increased from 0% to 20% in Gujarat in last 4-5 years," added Gohil. M&M sold 7000 mini tractors in 2013-14 in Gujarat while Sonalika has sold 1445 tractors in this category in the state in last two years.
Kapoor also said that some of the models of M&M have been co-created with the farmers itself.
"Along with inter culture operation, the mini tractors are also utilized for spraying of pesticides in orchards and other farms," added Kapoor. Agriculturist believe that new age farmers rely more on technology as most of the cheap labour earlier available has been taken up by schemes like MNREGA.
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From : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Mini-tractors-big-gains/articleshow/45053262.cms