In order to promote mechanisation in horticulture farming, the Department of Agriculture, Government of India has revised the operational guidelines for Sub-Mission of Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM).
Under the new guidelines, for SC, ST, small and marginal farmers, women and farmers of North Eastern States, 50 percent of the cost of machinery will be subsidised by the Government. For other categories of farmers, the subsidy will be 40 percent.
For mitigating the labour shortage in agriculture, the Government of India has introduced the SMAM scheme in 12th Five year plan. The scheme aims at ‘reaching the unreached’ by bringing to the small and marginal farmers, the benefits of farm mechanisation, especially regions where availability of farm power is low, promoting ‘Custom Hiring Centers’, creating hubs for hi-tech & high value farm equipments, creating awareness among stakeholders through demonstration and capacity building activities, and ensuring performance- testing and certification at designated testing centers located all across country.
Indian agriculture sector has been facing a challenge of labour shortage for last 10 to 15 years as there has been rise of non farm jobs in the country. Thus, the mechanisation has now become an imperative for the agriculture sector in a calculated manner.
Mechanisation in horticulture, a component of agriculture sector is in a very infant stage in India. Thus, it needs an immediate intervention from the policymakers.