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.

Clockwise from top-left: The preparation, management, cutting and transportation of a mat nursery.

CSISA facilitates farmers to become service providers by providing them hands-on technical training, linking them with machinery dealers and helping them evaluate their profitability. CSISA also provides business development support to service providers so they can create mat-type rice nurseries and sell rice mats for mechanical transplanting.

A mechanical transplanter in operation.
It used to take 15 laborers one full day to transplant rice seedlings onto farmer Anam Behera’s field in Puri district’s Malikpali village. “When I first heard about mechanical transplanting I was immediately impressed by the fact that my labor requirement would be reduced to nearly zero,” said Behera. As an added bonus, he now saves approximately 13 kg of seeds as well besides also reducing his tractor’s fuel consumption.

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.

Written and edited by: Anuradha Dhar, Ashwamegh Banerjee and Cynthia Mathys. Photo credits: Ashwamegh Banerjee, Srikanth Kolari, Vinaynath Reddy, Satish Kumar, Suryakanta Khandai and Wasim Iftikar. Copyright © the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), 2015. All rights reserved. Any opinions, boundaries and names stated herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily representative of or endorsed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) or its partner organizations. Fair use of this material is encouraged. Proper citation is requested.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.