Maharashtra state Cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod to provide financial assistance to farmers to adopt mechanised farming, allocating Rs 50 crore for it in the 2018-19 fiscal.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also announced a state-of-the-art agriculture technology hub in Maharashtra to boost mechanised and scientific farming. “The state government is committed to double farm production and farmers’ incomes by 2022. The financial assistance to farmers to adopt technology is to help them cope with multiple challenges in the agriculture sector. The thrust is to reduce investment cost and increase post-production income,” Fadnavis said at the Cabinet meeting.
Small and marginal farmers, those belonging to backward castes and communities and women would be provided financial assistance of up to 35 per cent and 50 per cent to buy tractors. Other categories of farmers would get financial help of 25 per cent. The financial aid for other farm equipment would be 40 per cent. An agriculture equipment bank would be set up for which the state government will provide 40 per cent finance.
Shrinking farm labour over the years has adversely affected the sector, pushing down production. Higher labour wages have also pushed up investment costs. To tackle the multiple challenges in the sector, it has been recommended that farmers will have to give up traditional methods. Instead, they should adopt advanced technology to help overcome problems of lack of manpower and also reduce the overall investment expenditure, it was suggested. Through scientific and mechanised farming practices, farmers can carry out sowing, monitoring and harvesting. Technology would also help farmers get higher yield and better quality at lesser price. Almost 80 per cent farmers in the state come under small and marginal category.