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The last two decades have witnessed rapid technological changes in Indian agriculture ranging from new ways of intensive cultivation, use of high yielding variety (HYV) seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, and improved water availability. In this milieu the importance of tractorization cannot be ignored. Yet debate on farm mechanization keeps recurring. While lot of research in . this field indicated that tractorization and farm mechanization have to accompany the other changes in agricultural technology, critics worry about the supposedly undesirable consequences of such change. Turnham(22) and Little (11) have estimated that the eighties may see at least 25 per cent more people requiring employment in the less developed countries as compared to the only 10 per cent in developed nations. To absorb this additional labour force, the industrial growth rate will have to be at least twice that of the sixties. The available evidence also indicate that the ratio of labour to'capital employed in the secondary industries of under developed countries is as low or almost as low as it is in the labour scarce economies (11). Farm mechanization is thus feared to be essentially labour saving. Myrdal (12), Lipton (10), a nd Kao (7) have, however, questioned this assumption. They argue that a large part of the apparent underemployment in agriculture does not represent surplus of labour, but rather its inability to undertake sustained work for long periods. Consequently, farm mechanization may help in more and better utilization of labour. Background Technological changes in agriculture have been classed into two broad categories. 1. Land augmenting technological change; and 2. modernization of agriculture through farm mefchanization. The former are those which increase the productivity of land i.e., the use of, HYV seeds, fertilizers, irrigation, etc. These are precondi-
The pa per challenges the conventional belief that tractorization in developing societies with surplus agricultural labour would lead to greater unemployment. Based on a study of the post 1960 demand for tractors in India, and an interview survey of about 900 farmers, opinion leaders, and officials of tractor manufacturers, the author concludes that-tractorization leads to replacement of bullock power, not labour power, and that tractorization is essential for bringing to fruition productivity increasing innovations, such as the use of high yield variety seeds. The author finds that there is a gap Between the kinds of tractors produced in the country and those desired by farmers. Neither the type nor size of the holding is an inhibitor of tractor use though socio-cultural reasons may be. The author is on the faculty of the Xavier Labour Relations Institute, Jamshedpur.
Vikalpa, Vol. 7, No. 1, January-March, 1982
The evidence cited above clearly indicates that the use of HYV seeds results in 20 to 50 per cent increase in the demand for labour. Were the full group of technological changes operational. that farmers who adopt land augmenting innovations use 20 per cent more labour input than others in the same region. there would be as field tests show. A review of the literature suggests the following two hypotheses. and supports the observations of Billings and Singh. The study reveals that if double cropping (cottonwheat) is to be carried out. This is a very critical period. By the end of the study period( 1983) with no other changes in technology. In regions where large scale adoption of land augmenting technological change has taken place. these operations would require 120 mandays of labour." The study forecasts that in Punjab. exceeding plan targets. On the other hand. i. the absence of farm mechanization may disrupt production. the threshing and winnowing of wheat and the sowing of cotton has to be completed within 45 days. 1. Many studies of other less developed countries also substantiate this finding. well within the 45 days limit. As a result.. average daily farm wages have risen nearly by 200 per cent since 1964. "the acreage under high yielding varieties has risen sharply in several districts.e. based-on data from 7 Indian states. A second example relates to a study of a similar region. have been examined for Punjab by Billings and Singh (2). it is obvious from the migration of seasonal labour from other states into Punjab that there is a wide demand-supply gap in labour. between 1965 and 1969." While the claim that the wheat crop mechanically threshed would be 100 per cent may not have come true. Irrespective of the size of the farm this conclusion is valid as shbwn by Tripathy and Samal (21) from a study. the proportion of wheat crop mechanically threshed would be 100 per cent by 1979 and the percentage of area under tractorization would rise from 3 per cent in 1969 to 20 per cent by 1984. If for a 5 acre farm the farmer and his family provide 45 mandays. the demand for human energy (in October) is 95 million mandays whereas only 83 million are available. demand in October would rise to 120 million mandays while the supply would increase to only 92 million.tions for farm mechanization and introduction of mechanical power inputs (21). The possibilities of selective mechanization and the need for labour saving tech nology due to increased seasonal labour requirements. Lawrence estimates that if these activities were carried out with the help of mechanical equipment they could be accomplished within 25 days. Sisodia (19) draws a similar conclusion from his study of Indore district. the study reports that "with the conventional farm technology and the present acreage under HYV. Shivamaggi (18) concludes. For instance. the demand would decline to 93 million mandays in the same month.of Sambalpur district of Orissa. On the basis of the observed monthly demand and supply of labour. resulting from land augmenting technological changes. While these studies show the impact of land augmenting innovations on labour input. that on an average. an additional requirement of 75 Vikalpa' 46 . Even allowing for a "down time" these could be accomplished in 30 days. Moreover. To quote. Wheat yields specially have risen. Selective mechanization can help in bringing about a more efficient use of farm labour and it does not lead to reduction in the demand for labour. "2. Land augmenting technological changes lead to an increased input of farm labour. Lawrence (9) examines the impact of mechanization in West Pakistan. causing farm labour to be much in demand during the rabi harvest at a time when the rural labour force as a whole seems to be on the decline. mechanization accompanied by these innovations can lead to increase in output per man as well as in labour utilization. farms using HYV seeds employ 40 per cent more labour than those using local varieties. Shah (17) observed on the basis of data collected for some regions in Philippines. Farmers have responded to labour shortages and costs by substituting a more capital intensive technology for critical activities. the demand for hired labour shows substantial increase with the use of HYV seeds (20). there are other studies which substantiate the second hypothesis. with bullock and traditional implements.
should be on smaller tractors (as against combine harvestersand high HP tractors) (12). However. 2. Vol 7. Madhya Pradesh. and Uttar Pradesh. Bihar. Haryana. January-March. The former have been used to analyse tractor demand in India. preparation of land is highly labour intensive. No 1. changes in farm technology like double cropping which are inevitable with the use of HYV. cluturaJ. For the analysis of purchases and tractor use behaviour of farmers. To do this. In order to analyse the various aspects of tractorization. With traditional cultivation methods. and it was decided to interview 900 respondents and 317 opinion leaders. These conclusions are obtained from a sample survey of 53 households of rice cultivators. The choice of technology for mechanization must take into account the fact that the mechanical input has to be on a rela- tively smaller scale in underdeveloped countries as compared to the develope'd countries. and human endowments. then the labour constraint would be considerably eased. The requirements being seasonal. its adoption should be selective as in Japan. the labour shortages are 30 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.) The sample size was determined keeping time and financial constraints. Thus. Focus of the study Working on this background. 4. It has . The emphasis. and if these changes have occurred on a wide scale in any region. therefore. Of these districts two Vikalpa. Socio-cultural barriers to adoption of • this technology. Examination of the attributes of tractors desired by the farmers in India who have adopted land augmenting technological changes.mandays. Stratification of these states into district categories signifying different levels of rural market potential was done on the basis of the Thompson Rural Index. and the implications of the choice of tractor. based on 11 indicators which are relative measures of physical. This would mean 5 to 6 extra workers for about two weeks. been observed that due to large scale adoption of HYV and other land augmenting changes the labour input in agriculture increases from 20 to 50 per cent. Rajasthan. secondary and primary data have been used. and economic disparities among the states and districts required the use of a stratified random sampling plan. technology on product attributes and the Indian agriculture. the following have been studied: 1. the pattern of demand for tractors in India. mechanization being intrinsically labour saving. result in shorter critical input periods. and statistical reliability in mind. resulting in labour shortages. the mechanization of such activities is not only desirable but inevitable. Thus. economic. Analysis of the demand for tactors in India. The study observed a time constraint on land preparation for rice because of the onset of the monsoon. Consequences of the non-availability of desired tractors on land use. The pattern of labour utilization in a rice producing region in Thailand shows that under the traditional methods of rice production there is a considerable shortage of farm labour during peak seasons. 1982 47 . The study concludes that selective mechanization cuts off the peak of labour demand and a contemporaneous change in farming methods increases demand in the troughs. this paper attempts to examine the need for the introduction of mechanical power inputs in Indian agriculture. 3. Inukai's (5) study of rice production in Thailand also supports the hypothesis. data were collected through interviews in 6 s'tates—Punjab. These respondents were to be contacted in 30 randomly selected districts. The foregoing analysis indicates the patterns in the intera-ction between technological changes and utilization of farm labour. if this could Be done by machines instead of by animal labour. the criticality of some of the activities can act as a constraint on the realization of the benefits of such innovations. However. Physical. From 17th June to 15th July and 3rd December to 30th December. (It identifies 6 levels of rural market potential from A to F. farm mechanization is not only desirable but is a necessary condition for bringing about a radical change in agricultural output.
however.329 6. There was no significant difference between the size of holdings and fragmentation of landsforthese two categories of farmers. The end user of the product i. (Demand = Production + Import—Export). Table 1 shows the demand for tractors from 1961-62 to 1976-77..591 4.6) Table . Ladejinsky (8). tractor demands seems to have again picked up strongly. low risk).323 5.997 2. and opinion leaders. How do they use it ? Responses to these and related questions were sogght at four levels: 1. and the remaining 9 to'E. 3.437 17. 1982.107 Source : Directorate General of Technical Development. In the course of the survey.107 2. non-users. He also finds that the size of holdings would not have any appreciable impact on the use/non-use of tractor decision. During 1966-67 to 1971-72 the increase in demand was due to heavy import of tractors.739 1. The post 1971-72 increase is. Tractor manufacturers. Pattern of demand: Survey findings Size of land holding and fragmentation It has often been argued that farm mechanization is inhibited by the small size of the holding and its fragmentation.414 1. Lately.038 12. The basic questionnaire was pre-tested in villages around Delhi and was subsequently suitably modified on the basis of the feedback. p. Ministry of Industrial Development. Why do they not buy ? 4. eleven to D.648 24.911 33.000 — — — — — — — — — — — — — — 28 44 634 148 NA 3.101 33. The impact of the economic as well as noneconomic variables have been examined on the buying and use behaviour of farmers Trends in demand for tractors. Trade representatives such as dealers. 30 respondents were selected at random from each district.407 1 5.679 19.714 8. it is the least risky investment in terms of profitability.535 16. Block Development Officers (BDOs) and District Agricultural Officers(DAOs).802 36.703 1 1 . Hirschman(4)andNCAER(14).570 20'. The demand slackened after 1975. and 4.394 1 5. the demand has risen in spurts attributable to spurts in domestic productions and/or imports.701 16. However.646 7. and other details from tractor owners. five to B.346 2.214 36.000 units (See The Economic Times 2nd Jan.989 2. A survey of farmers and opinion leaders in the northern states was undertaken to identify the effects of these two variables on the use or non-use of tractors (Table 2).616 2. Who are the tractor users/owners ? 2.816 1 1 . Patel shows that since a small tractor is associated with the related low fixed costs (and.e. usage pattern.323 1. 12). of India. The 1980 figure is around 60. This is in accordance with the findings of Patel (15). however.676 24. The Japanese economy has often being cited as an example of farm mechanization even on small fragmented holdings (6. trade representatives. product attribute preferences.397 12. Govt. \ 48 Vikalpa .309 21. Why do they buy ? 3.030 4.204 31.983 4.000 units and the 1981 figures is about 83. 2.059 33. The opinion leaders.belonged to Category A. What do they lack for in the product ? 5.1 Apparent demand of tractors in India Apr-Mar Production Imports Exports Net availability 1961-62 1962-63 1963-64 1964-65 1965-66 1966-67 1967-68 1968-69 1969-70 1970-71 1971-72 1972-73 1973-74 1974-75 1975-76 1976-77 880 1.834 29.1 60 30. therefore.101 19. the farmer.967 32. The sampling plan of the opinion survey was aimed at serving qualitative and quantitative answers to the following questions: 1.432 27. due to a steady increase in the domestic supply which has entirely replaced imports.877 4. It is evident from Table 1 that the demand for tractors over this period has increased substantially (although it is lower than government projections). users. three to C. economics of tractor use. A set of questionnaires was designed to obtain information on demand characteristics.
Table 4 reports the ranking of attributes for each of these brands.89 3. International Ford. namety Massey Ferguson. January-March. in relation to other attributes. of holding plot plot plots Tractor Mean 12. For such a tractor the farmer is prepared to wait most and even pay a higher price. if a higher priced tractor satisfies the first four attributes and a lower priced tractor does not. there may be excess demand for small sized (up to 35 hp) tractors.40 2. high rank for power rating and low cost of operations indicate the farmer's consciousness of performance and economy.72 deviation Preferred attributes Among the factors on which a farmer's choice of a tractor depends are the power rating of the tractor and the relative importance he places on its attributes which.. Based on these findings. No. Comparing the horse power (an important attribute of a tractor) preferences from the farmers' survey with the horse powfr-wise production-mix availability at a given point of time one comes across the situation as presented in Table 5. therefore. the farmer would opt for the first. It is. Table 3 reports ranks of preferences on the tractor's product attributes. In other words. These. 1.57 3. HMT/Zeton. As the table shows. and Hindustan.Table 2 Average size and number of holdings Table 3 Preferential rating of tractor attributes Attribute Average Average size Average size of Largest Smallest no. It is evident that the tractor which matches the attributes ranked in Table 3 has been preferred most i.obtained through the survey. Finally. Vol. Brand preferences for 20 brands/models available in the market were also .14 2. etc. The low ranking for price. Here. Vikalpa. 7. shows that only if other (higher rated) attributes are satisfactorily met with in a brand of tractor.88 5. A good tractor should be economical to operate even at the cost of raising its price marginally. Next in importance'dre reliability and operational ease.61 6.18 2. make up his personal concept of a good product. Massey Ferguson. and on opinion leaders' recommendations. in the interest of the farmer to refrain from such activity.e.67 users (n = 600) Standard 6. reflect the farmer's concern for not being stranded with a tractor that does network.95 6. In forming this concept he is often dependent on his own and others' experience with tractors and implements.52 2. according to him. the last ranking for quick availability of tractor indicates that a farmer would be willing to wait (within limits. a farmer is very particular about minimizing the downtime of his tractor due to breakdowns. Range switching has been thought to be a phenomenon which sub-optimizes net gain (6). account for more than 75 per cent of the total first preferences. But the farmer does so because tractors available in his rangedonot possess the attribute profile he desires (15). an "optimum" tractor would be one with the features emphasized as per Table 3. 1982 .90 deviation NonMean 13. In other words. together with after sales services and spares availability.83 Horse-power rating Low cost of operations Reliability Ease of operations After sales service and spares availability Price Re-sale value Quick availability of tractors Rank 1 'i 3 4 5 6 7 8 users (n = 300) Standard 6.26 3.61 5. is the farmer concerned with the cost of his investment on the tractor. Switching can thus be reduced only through an appropriate technology choice and correct product-mix. of course) for a tractor of his choice.45 3. Five brands.
. Almost 50 per cent of tractor owners reported that they had purchased the tractor through bank borrowings. The last category of "other reasons.. Myrdal (13) has asserted "." broadly consisted of socio-cultural reasons for non-purchase of tractors. It is evident that non-availabiliy of a particular brand of tractor is a very important factor. The percentage of respondents who feel that a tractor is unprofitable is not very high considering the fact that most of these respondents had not gone in for other changes 50 in a long time.Reasons for non-purchase Table 6 reports the reasons for non-purchase Reasons for non-purchase Table 6 reports the reasons for non-purchase of tractor across the 6 states in the survey. some of which have been traditionally done by manpower or bullockpower. Lack of funds is another major constraint on the purchase decision. especially in the relatively affluent states. the underutilisation of labourforce in underdeveloped countries can be seen as the result of V/kalpa . Labour replacement Tractors are being used for a wide variety of power applications. This further supports the contention that those deciding to buy are forced to purchase a tractor which does not suit their requirements. It has been emphasized earlier that mechanization (tractorization) does not result in replacement of labour.
43 26.54 (1 bullock unit) Manpower 26. technological advance would not be labour saving but on the contrary would require a higher and more efficient input of labour. Vol. yet manpower input on the latter is not lower than the same for the former. Vikalpa. maximum usage of the tractor as a power source lies in pre-harvest activity and transport.41 9. the non-use of tractor may partially be a result of non-availability of the right kind of tractor. In the case of the latter." Some of the Indian studies on this subject have supported this hypothesis. For it is an empirically testable general rule that. On the other hand. In Other words. For instance. and non-user's) is reported in Table 8. Conclusion PreIrrigation Harvesting harvest activity Transport Tractor 46 owner's farm Tractor 30 user's farm 17 24 15 28 22 17 The findings show a more balanced usage pattern at the tractor user's farm than at the owner's farm. 1982 51 .25 BulloCk power 6. Sarkar and Praladhachar (16).24 30. a caste) in a village was reported as a reason by many for their nonuse. Grewal and Kahlon (3) found a marginal increase in labour requirement on the tractorized large farms in Punjab. if tractorization leads at all to It may thus be concluded from the foregoing discussion that neither the character nor the size of the holdings is an inhibitor for the farmer to use a tractor. Bal (1) on the other hand found that while tractorization reduced the labour by 8 per cent. nonuse by a class of people (say. This has implications for tractor manufacturing enterprises. Similar findings are reported by Singh (19). users. with very few exceptions. Thus. should go a long way in helping technological changes in Indian agriculture.using primitive technology. nor is tractor use significantly labour replacing. it was found that a large number of farmers who had the resources and inclination to use tractors were still not using them for various social reasons. In devising their marketing strategies these firms should identify opinion leaders who can help neutralize the effect of the class which is averse to tractor purchase. While supporting this hypothesis. it should accompany other changes in agricultural technology. 1. During the survey. 7. in addition to producing the right kind of tractors. and use-wise power input in the three categories of farms (owner's. for these farmers the social or cultural systems of society were acting as constraints though they were convinced of the economic viability of using tractors on their farms. No. A comparison between the source-wise. this survey showed the activity-wise use of tractor on a farm (Table 7).42 displacement of conventional power sources. it raised the demand of casual labour by 151 per cent. Table? Activitywise tractor use Table 8 Power source on three categories of farms Power source • Total power input on Tractor Tractor Non-users' owners' users' farms farms farms (Unit power source * day/'acre/year) Tractor 3.09 10. not manpower. The total bullock power per acre is much higher on non-tractorized farms as compared to the same on tractorized farms. In fact. it replaces bullock power.00 2. This. January-March.
. 1974.H. Johnston.. 1970).. Patel.Agriculture and economic development: The relevance of Japanese experience. 18. Sisodia. David.S.. Grewal. C. "Disguised unemployment in agriculture: A survey. 1968. Myrdal.). "Mechanization as a technological change. (London: Penguin Press. Agriculture in economic development (New York: McGraw-Hill. output and labour 'input—Cusu in Thailand." (Mimeo). Asian drama: An inquiry into poverty of nations. Tripathy. R. (Washington: Overseas Development Council. (Geneva: ILO. and Lipton." Agricultural situation in India. B.S. 1970).. "Selection of tractors." Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics. M.. A. (London: Oxford University Press. (New Delhi: Directorate of Economics and Statistics.and employment in developing countries (Paris: OECD Development Centre. Sarkar. Shah. M. 1971.. R.) Crisis of Indian planning. The impact of Green Revolution and jobs. 1969." in Streeten. "Economics of tractor cultivation: A case Study.S. 1970). Turnham. Food Research.. of India).References Bal.. "Labour and Green Revolution: The experience in Punjab.. (London:Oxford University Press. 2. Industry and trade in somn developini/ countries: A comparative study.. "Factors influencing labour employment.K. "A noteon small farmers. "Agricultural labour problem: Past mosconceptionsandnewguidelines/'fconom/canda/ Political Weekly. M. Fuller utilization of rural manpower.B. Bruce f . 10.S..K.. 12." Economic and Political Weekly. 11..S.. 1976 16. Little. October. "Strategy for agriculture: Urban bias and rural planning. April. Shivamaggi. 1965). Vol. 1971). April 1974 Billings. Witt (eds. 1969. Technological change in agriculture. and Samal B.D. K. 22." ir\ Journeys towards progress. Yudelman. January. US AMDS: 1965.. January. Gunnar. December 27. Demand for tractors.N. Lawrence. and Singh. Montague.. C. 1966. 1969). 1968). Michael (eds.H. "Economics of HYV in IADP: A study of Sambalpur in Orissa. _____„_ The challenge of world poverty. M. S.. Inukai. I. March. 19. "Problem solving and reform mongering. 1964). "Some economic apsects of high yielding varieties programme of Indore district.." Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics. Albert O. November 12. New Delhi." Agricultural situation in India. October 25. et. and Lawrence. "Some economic as|>ects of farm mechanization in Pakistan. Paul. 23.. J.. et a I. W." in Eicher. and Praladhachar.D. Ladejlnsky.. 20. al. NCAER. H. (New York: Twentieth Century Fund. Hirachman. 1968) 13. 1966. farm mechanization. (New York: Doubleday. (Paris: OECD Development Centre.. 1969.." Economic and Political Weekly.Kao. 1970 Reported extensively in Yudelman et al." (himeo). Lipton. 1974 15." The Economic Times. 17. 21. A41-49. "Impact of mechanization. Govt. The employment problem in less developed countries: A review of evidence. 1968." Indian Journal of Agri cultural Economics.A. 1971) 52 Vikalpa . Ian. and Khalon. Singh. R. 14. H. A.