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Paddy transplantation is on in full swing in the state and back in action this season are the forgotten transplanters.
The machines failed to click with farmers after the state government imported around 650 such machines from China and Japan and supplied them to the farmers on subsidy.
These machines can sow an average of 33 seedlings per square metre but soon, farmers complained that the Chinese models stopped working. Agriculture experts blamed the “complaints” on the lack of awareness among farmers on how to use the machines properly.
But now that labour charges have increased to around of Rs 2,500 per acre, these machines, that cost only around Rs 500 per acre, are once again back in favour.
Jaswinder Singh Brar, agriculture development officer Moga, said, “This season, there is an extreme shortage of labour from UP and Bihar. Some Chinese machines were not working properly but farmers have repaired them. No issues were reported in Japanese machines and they are still working well.”
Gurwinder Singh from village Gagra of Moga who purchased two transplanters from another farmer said, “Not only am I saving on labour but planting too is uniform in fields. Yield has also been higher. Yes, it is a tough job to prepare seedlings nursery on mats but it is way easier than finding manual labor and paying them. Only two or three helpers are required in this process.”
“We had imported these machines as there were no Indian companies manufacturing them. The situation has not changed much even now,” said D R Kataria, former joint director (agricutural engineering). “The major issue in using these machines is the preparation of mat based seedlings nursery.”