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New Compact Utility Tractor Set to Revolutionize Farming for Marginal and Small Farmers in India

A newly developed compact, affordable, and easily maneuverable tractor is poised to significantly enhance agricultural productivity for small and marginal farmers, while keeping costs low. The introduction of this innovative tractor could mark a transformative step in the socio-economic upliftment of these farmers, who form the backbone of India’s agriculture sector.

Marginal and small farmers make up over 80% of cultivators in India. A significant portion of this population still relies on traditional bullock-driven farming, which comes with high operational and maintenance costs and yields poor returns. While power tillers have begun to replace bullock-driven plows, they are often cumbersome to operate. Traditional tractors, on the other hand, are generally unsuitable for small farmers due to their size and cost, making them an impractical solution for this demographic.

To address these challenges, the CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CMERI), with support from the SEED Division of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), has developed a compact, affordable, and easily maneuverable tractor specifically designed for marginal and small farmers. This tractor is part of a broader initiative to promote technology that can improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.

The technology has been actively promoted among several existing Self-Help Groups (SHGs), with efforts also made to create new SHGs specifically for this technology. CSIR-CMERI is in discussions to license the technology to local companies for large-scale manufacturing, ensuring that the benefits reach farmers at the grassroots level.

The newly developed tractor features a 9 hp diesel engine with 8 forward and 2 reverse speeds, and a PTO with 6 splines operating at 540 rpm. Weighing approximately 450 kg, the tractor boasts front and rear wheel sizes of 4.5-10 and 6-16 respectively. It has a wheelbase of 1200 mm, a ground clearance of 255 mm, and a turning radius of 1.75 meters, making it highly suitable for the small and fragmented land holdings typical of marginal farmers.

This compact tractor promises to significantly speed up farming activities, reducing the time required from several days to just a few hours, in stark contrast to the time-intensive bullock cart method. Moreover, it offers reduced capital and maintenance costs, making it a financially viable option for small farmers.

The technology has already been demonstrated in nearby villages and to various manufacturers. A Ranchi-based Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) has expressed keen interest in manufacturing the tractor and is planning to set up a plant for its mass production. This MSME aims to supply the tractors to farmers through various state government tenders at subsidized rates, ensuring that the technology is accessible to those who need it most.

In conclusion, the introduction of this compact utility tractor represents a significant advancement in agricultural technology for marginal and small farmers in India. By replacing traditional bullock-driven plows, this tractor has the potential to not only increase agricultural productivity but also contribute to the socio-economic upliftment of a large and vital segment of India’s farming community.

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