As per the Livestock Census, in , only 2, male buffaloes were used for tilling operations in the State, an insignificant number. The KKS owns an array of agricultural machinery, including tractors, tillers, coconut climbers, bush cutters, and sprayers, worth nearly Rs 30,00, The Fourth Five Year Plan had envisaged a growth in installed capacity for the manufacture of 68, tractors per year by — Here, we briefly discuss two such experiments: Mechanisation as a desirable strategy for agricultural development and as an element of State policy found recognition in the early years of the Five Year Plans.

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For example, in the inundated paddy fields of Kuttanad and Kole, tillage is carried out by means of tractors with cage wheels, whereas in the dry fields of Palakkad, tractors and cultivators are sufficient and cage wheels are not required.

Table 3 Tillers, tractors, threshers, and combine harvesters in Kerala, — in numbers. I have seen many small time business owners who had gone over to be under his wings. The longer the production period, the more limited the turnover of capital and profit.

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A comparison of wages in Kerala with the wage rates in the three neighbouring States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, and the agriculturally advanced States of Punjab and Haryana, from toshows that wages in Kerala were substantially higher: This was not a mere lapse in planning; rather, planning that tried to accommodate the interests of the market and the emerging agrarian capitalists had to allow such a trajectory. The third section discusses agricultural mechanisation at the all-India level.

Besides higher wages, kk of agricultural workers have been widely reported, particularly for labour-intensive agricultural operations such as transplanting, weeding, and harvesting. From the s up to the mids, the area under cultivation and agricultural production, particularly for rice and coconut, grew at a reasonably rapid rate. More than 35 years later, inthere were just 1, power tillers and 2, tractors in the State.


The decline in the area under paddy cultivation at an annual rate of roughly 20, hectares over the last three decades is noteworthy. There has been a steady decline in the number of ezwaran animals in Kerala from the s, particularly male buffaloes, which are primarily used for tilling operations George and Nair Rich farmers could invest in machinery not only to eswarxn their income, but also as a means of reducing their dependence on wage labour to meet any seasonal shortage in labour supply.

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Mahalanobis, for example had expressed concerns about the premature mechanisation of agriculture Chakravarty Mechanical threshing also began to spread on a wide scale in the wheat belt of Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh in the same period.

The crisis in agriculture is best seen as part of a larger process of structural transformation of the Kerala economy which has blocked agrarian transition and requires thorough overhauling of the social organization of production for overcoming the present impasse.

Besides the cost of machinery, the resistance of agricultural workers also played a role in slowing down the growth of mechanisation in the s. More than 80 per cent of farmers in these five villages employed machinery for these activities, but the use of machinery for these operations was absent or insignificant in the other four villages, that is, Bharanikkavu in Alappuzha district, Ezhome in Kannur district, Muttil in Wayanad district, and Pulimath in Thiruvananthapuram district.

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It is noteworthy that mechanisation has remained slow in the State despite relatively high agricultural wages and shortage of labour for agricultural work. The State has lost much of its cropping diversity: Eswarab labour bank receives an advance of 25 per cent of the total cost from the Padasekhara Samiti before starting work, and the remaining amount is disbursed as the work progresses.

The labour bank has been able to ensure a minimum of days of work a year per worker. Thus, there was a substantial decline in the concentration of land alongside corresponding distribution of land, as evident from the increased number of ownership holdings in Kerala in the post-land reforms period.


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This article examines such constraints in the context of agriculture in Kerala, and their impact on mechanisation. Our village survey data showed that when the interest on land prices was accounted for in the cost of cultivation, paddy farming yielded esswaran negative return.

In so far as this fixed capital consists of draught animals, it requires continually the same, or nearly the same, expenditure for feed, etc. This unequal pattern can be attributed to a number of factors. This is significant, for leasing, particularly small-scale leasing, discourages any form of long-term investment in agriculture, either by the lessor or the lessee.

Private sector investment for procuring tractors has not been impressive, though there has been some investment on account of tractors being put to multiple uses, such as transportation eswarzn addition to tilling the soil. This site was designed with the. Land reforms, the eeswaran of families, and the rise in land prices, among other factors, have contributed to the preponderance of small holdings.

Thirdly, capitalist agriculture has an inherent disinclination to adopt high-cost technologies, as discussed earlier.

Maintenance of draught animals is also fast disappearing in the State. Even though local governments have a major role in resolving the eswarxn question, it presupposes greater involvement of higher tiers of government and deeper cooperation among different tiers. Despite these numbers, tractors are used for tilling on only 23 per cent of the total cultivated area in the country ibid.