Mechanical Transplanting of Rice Helping Farmers Overcome Labor Shortages
Farmers in Odisha have begun adopting mechanical transplanting to address labor scarcity and the high cost of labor. To increase adoption and access to machines, CSISA links service providers with machinery dealers and helps them evaluate the profitability and ‘business case’ for mechanical transplanting.
Sabriti Nayak, a tribal farmer from Badjod village in Odisha, required 10 to 12 farmhands for two days to manually transplant 0.4 hectare of rice seedlings. However, she would often face labor shortages at peak rice-sowing times. After working for long hours in wet fields for nursery preparation, uprooting and transplanting seedlings, Nayak would develop skin problems and other ailments. Faced with the risk of scarce and expensive labor, last year she adopted mechanical transplanting of rice. By doing so, she could not only sow the same area in just one hour without any laborers, she didn't have to worry about skin infections either.
The mechanical transplanter plants rice seedlings at precise depths and spacing, decreasing the time and drudgery involved in a task that is mostly done by women farmers in India. In collaboration with the Odisha Department of Agriculture, CSISA worked over the past three years to popularize the mechanical transplanting of rice in puddled and non-puddled conditions. From a very low base of 40 farmers adopting machine transplanting of rice in 2013, CSISA, through the International Rice Research Institute, has facilitated more than 2,000 farmers, covering nearly 2,200 hectares across the districts of Puri, Bhadrak and Mayurbhanj, to adopt mechanical transplanting.
Impact in numbers
In Odisha, the number of farmers practicing mechanical transplanting of rice increased from 40 in 2013 to 2,000 in 2015.
Mechanical transplanting saves farmers about US$ 100 per hectare when services are procured through service providers.