With farming taking a back seat, the industrial sector has become a major buyer for tractors in Goa with 500-odd farm vehicle and farming equipments registered in the state every fiscal.
While transport department statistics reveal that the state registers half a thousand tractors annually, the directorate of agriculture says that hardly a dozen of them are purchased for farming. Rest is brought by the industries, which use them in the plant to pull the material from one place to another.
Since last several years, the agriculture department has been registering hardly 8 to 10 tractors annually, except for the current financial year, which saw 40 tractors brought for farming, Director of Agriculture Satish Tendulkar said.
“You will see tractors in industries and mining sector. It's a wrong notion that increasing demand for tractors reflects on mechanisation of agriculture,” Mr. Tendulkar said.
The statistics in the transport department, which registers these vehicles, shows a different picture.
In 2007-08, around 518 tractors and other similar equipments like power tillers were registered by the department while 507 were registered for the financial year 2008-09.
In current financial year, till December last, the transport department has registered 300 such equipments, mainly in its urban offices like Margao, Ponda, Panaji and Vasco.
Goa, which is witnessing decline in the agriculture, has hardly 15 to 20 farmers using tractors in their farms. But there are 300-350 power tillars used by various farmers.
The state agriculture department, which was one amongst the buyers for tractors and farming equipments, has stopped purchasing them since last year.
“We have stopped buying agricultural implements since we have introduced a scheme for providing 50 per cent subsidy to farmers for purchasing such equipment, which is aimed at generating employment for drivers, operators, cleaners and mechanics,” he said.
The recent economic survey tabled in the ongoing state Legislative Assembly has mentioned that agriculture in the state is going through tough phase.
“Except for groundnut, there has been shortfall in the targeted area coverage and production which has been attributed mainly due to very high and non availability of labour and avoidance by young generation, who scout for white collar jobs,” the survey mentions.
Of the total geographical area of 3702 sq kms, the net area sown is 1,34,601 hectare. “About 31,352 hectare area is sown more than once,” the statistics revealed.