Co­op­er­a­tive Depart­ment to sub­sidise agri­cul­ture ma­chin­ery for farm­ers

The Myanmar Times - - News - HTOO THANT thanhtoo@mm­times.com

FARM­ERS fac­ing mount­ing labour costs have re­ceived wel­come news from the Co­op­er­a­tive Depart­ment – help in buy­ing qual­ity farm ma­chin­ery. The depart­ment has cut the re­quired down pay­ment by half, from 20 per­cent to 10pc.

The de­ci­sion is also likely to help speed up mech­a­ni­sa­tion, thus even­tu­ally rais­ing agri­cul­tural yields.

Most farm­ers lack the money to buy trac­tors and com­bine har­vesters out­right. The Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture, Live­stock and Ir­ri­ga­tion is try­ing to help them. “We’ve sold about 85pc of our Korean-made ma­chin­ery. Farm­ers used to pay 20pc down, and then we would help them buy the equipment with the com­pany con­cerned. We’ve changed the sys­tem now to al­low the farm­ers to pay only 10pc down,” U Myo Aung, di­rec­tor of the Co­op­er­a­tive Depart­ment, told The Myan­mar Times on Oc­to­ber 21.

If the com­pany re­quires a 20pc down pay­ment, the depart­ment will lend the ex­tra 10pc to al­low a farmer to buy the nec­es­sary ma­chin­ery, as well as of­fer­ing a three­year in­stal­ment pay­ment plan, pay­ing 15pc ev­ery six months.

The min­istry is giv­ing pri­or­ity to trac­tors and com­bine har­vesters, which are the most pop­u­lar items among farm­ers, but will also look at buy­ing other sorts of equipment. The co-op depart­ment im­ported US$100 mil­lion worth of agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery from South Korea, de­spite an ini­tial re­jec­tion of the pur­chase in par­lia­ment that was later re­versed.

How­ever, while ac­knowl­edg­ing the qual­ity of the Korean ma­chin­ery, many farm­ers in lower Myan­mar pre­fer Ja­panese, Dutch or Chi­nese prod­ucts, say­ing that the Korean trac­tors get bogged down in their fields.

“South Korean ma­chin­ery is known to be good qual­ity, but it’s not suit­able for soft farm­land. Farm­ers here pre­fer Kub­ota, which is also a bit cheaper than South Korean-made ma­chin­ery,” said U Aung Gyi, a farmer from Py­in­mana town­ship, Nay Pyi Taw.

An­other Py­in­mana farmer, U Ba Gyi of Kyun Oo vil­lage, said, “Farm­ers need agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery, and yield rates will in­crease if the coun­try’s agri­cul­ture is mech­a­nised.” Labour charges amount to at least K4000 a day per worker, which is higher than ma­chin­ery costs, he said. “If we need to har­vest paddy, we will have to pay at least K40,000 an acre be­cause we need to hire 10 har­vesters. Hir­ing a com­bine har­vester costs about K35,000,” he said.

– Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

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