With increasing agricultural labour Shortage in India, a calculated shift to mechanization is imperative. Not only does mechanization provide for optimal utilization of factor resources (viz., land, labour, water, capital and expensive farm inputs), it also helps farmers to save valuable time and effort. Judicious use of time, labour and resources helps facilitate sustainable intensification (multi-cropping) and timely planting of crops and towards giving crops more time to mature, leading to improved productivity.
In India, horticulture mechanization is almost at an infant stage and for the growth of this sector; there is immediate need for intervention. The Government of India,, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare has introduced Sub-Mission of Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) scheme during 2014-15.
The scheme aims at ‘reaching the unreached’ by bringing to the small and marginal farmers, the benefits of farm mechanization, 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 over the country.
The operational guidelines of SMAM have been recently revised. These include the various Horticulture equipments along with Post-Harvest Technology equipments for oilseed , food grain and horticulture crops for financial assistance to the extent of 60% of the cost of equipment for Post Harvest Technology for SC,ST , small & marginal farmers , women , and NE States beneficiaries and 50% for other category beneficiaries and for Horticulture equipments 50% of the cost of equipment for SC,ST , small & marginal farmers , there is provision of subsidy for women , and NE States beneficiaries and 50% for other category beneficiaries . Similarly, there is provision of subsidy for Horticulture equipments at 50% of the cost of equipment for SC, ST, small & marginal farmers, women, and NE States beneficiaries and 40% for other categories beneficiaries.