Bangladesh imports roughly 68 per cent of agro-machinery amounting to Tk 65.28 billion annually out of its demand, a study by the Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) Saturday revealed.
Tractors, power tillers, reapers, shallow machines are among 200 farm machinery imported from India, China and Taiwan, said the study.
The report was based on data of financial year 2016-17 (FY'17).
The study suggested the government policy support for the private sector to help minimise imports by boosting farm machinery production, which ultimately could reduce output costs.
The report titled 'Passage of Agro Machinery in Bangladesh and Government Initiatives' was unveiled at a seminar on the eve of the three-day Agro Machinery Fair 2018 that kicked off in the city aiming to raise mechanisation in agriculture.
The farm mechanisation project of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) organised the fair at the Krishibid Institution Bangladesh (KIB) in Dhaka themed 'Use agro machinery, save money, time and labour.'
A total of 21 companies, both from the private and public sector are exhibiting over 200 modern farm machinery at the fair.
Professor Monjurul Alam, department of farm power and machinery of BAU, presented the report that said Bangladeshi farms had rapidly been mechanised in the last two decades.
The agro machinery market reached US$ 1.2 billion or Tk 96 billion in 2017, of which local manufacturers had 32 per cent share, it said.
Imports from India, Taiwan, China, Korea, Japan, and Germany meet 68 per cent of the demand for which the country counted Tk 65.28 billion in expenses.
Growth of farm machinery sales is 20 per cent year-on-year, according to the report.
The report also said local manufacturers are dominating the spare parts market with more than 60 per cent of share.
The study said five segments related to farming have been mechanised significantly out of key eleven tasks in the country.
It showed plough, irrigation, thrashing, weed removing and pesticide application have been mechanised by 90 per cent (pc), 63 pc, 65 pc, 80 pc and 70 per cent respectively.
But fertiliser application, plantation, harvesting, crop drying, packaging to storing and shattering were yet to be modernised as only 0.1 to 6.0 per cent lands are using machinery for such purposes, it said.
The report showed farmers in the country now use 35,000 tractors, 0.7 million units of power tiller, 0.35 million units of drum thrasher and 1.7 million units of irrigation pumps.
Only 400 rice planters, 500 reapers, 200 combine harvesters and 2,000 rice shattering machines are being used in the country, it said.
Dr Alam told the FE that the government initiative is needed to boost the production of agro machinery.
He said the national agricultural policy 2013 put emphasis on the farm machinery manufacturing, calling for increased funding for research to increase local production.
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Foundation chairman Wais Kabir told the FE import duty on raw materials for agro machinery should be lifted.
He said apart from the universities and government research organisations, the private sector should be encouraged to invest and innovate.
The investors and innovators in Bogra, Sylhet, Natore, Dhaka and elsewhere in the country have brought a silent revolution to farm equipment manufacturing and assembling, he said.
They should be encouraged through the government policy support like cheap loans, research allocation, and market promotion, he said.
Local government, rural development and cooperative minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain spoke as the chief guest while agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury was present as the special guest at the seminar.
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