CSIR innovation: New compact utility tractor can help uplift the small and marginal farmers

CSIR innovation: New compact utility tractor can help uplift the small and marginal farmers

A newly developed compact, affordable and easily manoeuvrable utility tractor catering for small and marginal farmers could help them increase agricultural productivity while keeping the cost low. An MSME has planned to set up a manufacturing plant for mass production of tractors for supply to farmers.

Marginal and small farmers comprise over 80 per cent of cultivators in India. A large population of them still depend on bullock-driven farming in which operational costs, maintenance costs and poor returns pose a challenge. Though power tillers are replacing bullock-driven ploughs, they are cumbersome to operate. Tractors on the other hand are unsuitable for small farmers and unaffordable for most small farmers.

In order to address these challenges, CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CSIR- CMERI) based in Durgapur, West Bengal, has developed a compact, affordable and easily manoeuvrable tractor of low horsepower range to meet the requirement of the marginal and small farmers, with support from the SEED Division of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

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They have promoted the technology among several existing self-help groups (SHGs), and efforts were made to create new SHGs, particularly for this technology. CSIR- CMERI is also discussing licensing it to local companies for large-scale manufacturing so that the benefits can reach the local farmers.

The tractor has been developed with a 9 hp diesel engine with 8 forward and 2 reverse speeds, PTO with 6 splines @540 rpm. The total weight of the tractor is around 450kg, having front and rear wheel sizes of 4.5-10 and 6-16 respectively. The wheelbase, ground clearance, and turning radius are 1200 mm, 255mm, and 1.75m respectively.

It can help speed up farming, finishing it in a few hours in comparison to the several days that the bullock cart needs and also reduces the capital and maintenance costs of farmers. Hence, the affordable compact utility tractor could replace the bullock-driven plough for small and marginal farmers.

The technology was demonstrated in nearby villages and to various manufacturers. A Ranchi-based MSME has shown interest in manufacturing it by setting up a plant for mass production of the tractor. They plan to supply the developed tractor to farmers through different state government tenders at subsidised rates.

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About Mohd Mustaquim

Mohd Mustaquim is the Editor of Agriculture Post. A postgraduate in Mass Communication and Journalism, he has been covering the rural economy and agriculture sector for more than a decade.

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