Rural artisans and SSI better, proves Bangladesh

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Can farm mechanisation lead to greater employment generation and poverty alleviation? The answer is ?yes?, provided the mechanisation is on a small-scale and equipment are manufactured by rural artisans and small-scale industry. A case in point is Bangladesh, which has been experimenting with this concept for sometime now

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Bangladesh, Dr Kabir said, had gone for small-scale farm mechanisation, wherein tillage operations are mechanised and most of the farm equipment are manufactured locally. This had given rise to a number of backward industries involved in engine repairs and spare parts manufacturing and boosted income-generating employment.

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But all is not hunky and dory on the mechanisation front. Dr Kabir says that globalisation and liberalisation are threatening to wipe out the economic growth seen so far. The government recently allowed free imports of farm implements, but did not fix any standard norms on such imported machineries. Taxes too are not levied on these imported goods.

As a result, these cheap imports have found many buyers, affecting local entrepreneurs, village artisans and also the manufacturing units. ?This situation needs to be addressed soon, in the interests of local employment,? Dr Kabir says. To counter this, Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG)?a global NGO ?has taken on itself the responsibility of promoting locally-made farm machinery. Their target group is a large number of small farmers. They are also popularising some of the farm machineries, developed by BARC, like the multi-crop power thresher, winnower and weeder in Faridpur and Gaibandha districts. Many of these implements are affordable by individual small farmers.

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Source: Oneworld South Asia (link opens in a new window)