Thursday, 13 July 2017

Agricultural Machinery Market – Growing Rapidly Across Emerging Economies

Agriculture in the prehistoric times dealt with the domestication of plants and animals dating back at least 12,000 years. During this period, most of the laborious activities were performed by domesticated animals like oxen, bullocks, cows, etc. whereas all high-skilled tasks like sowing, harvesting, etc. were performed by humans alone. This continued in the developed world till 1900’s after which effective agricultural techniques were widely adopted when the need for higher productivity was experienced. With the modernization of agriculture, many new practices like selective breeding, use of fertilisers and pesticides were introduced which helped to increase agricultural productivity. This led to the industrial revolution in the 19th century which further gave impetus to the invention of several new types of machinery to be used in various agricultural processes.

In modern times, all basic tools, machines and equipment that provide ease in agricultural processes and increase agricultural productivity and quality come under the terminology agricultural machinery.

The main machine in the agricultural process is Tractor, which does most of the basic agricultural operation like ploughing, tilling and harvesting. The tractor is the most common agricultural machine comprising of nearly half of the sales of all the agricultural machinery. Other machines used in agricultural processes are ploughs, cultivators, harvesters, haying and forage machinery, planting and fertilization equipment, de-stoners, tillers, sorters, harrows, irrigation machinery, and other hardware equipment like mixers, windmills, wool presses and grinders etc. The inclusion of agricultural machinery in agricultural processes have brought tremendous advantages which helped to the growth of agricultural output. The machinery has benefited the farmers by saving precious time in basic operations, reduced labour requirements, optimized the use of available resources, conserved water by adopting better irrigation techniques, and increased quality & quantity of agricultural output among many others. Agricultural machinery is used in applications like soil cultivation, irrigation, planting, fertilizing, pest control, harvesting, loading and unloading.

The trend of modernization is not just limited to the developed economies, but the developing and underdeveloped economies have also shown tremendous growth potential. For instance, Deere and Company introduced small size tractors named 4M & 5E especially for the needs of small-scale farming in developing economies. In many developed economies, automation and agricultural robots have taken place of machines, thereby automating most of the processes, enabling decreased human involvement and lowering of errors. Agricultural Drones are relatively new and are gaining popularity in developed economies for their monitoring, surveillance capabilities. Global positioning systems i.e. GPS enabling technology is being widely used in developing economies providing precise information about farm planning, soil sampling, crop scouting, variable rate applications, field and yield mapping.

The daily demand for agricultural products of the rapidly increasing global population coupled with decreasing percentage of farm land has brought more focus on improved, technologically advanced agricultural methods to increase farm output and produce quality. The advancement in Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) foods for increased crop quality, high nutritional content, better pest and fungus protection have also contributed to the increased research activities aiming towards meeting the global food demands. In many countries, government subsidies on fertilizers, seeds, pesticides, and most importantly on agricultural machinery because of low-interest rates have contributed to the growth of agricultural machinery market. Increasing funds allocated especially for research and development in agriculture will lead to more growth of this market as developing economies like India and China try to achieve economies of scale to meet their ever-increasing food consumption demands.

However, even though the growth opportunities of this market are tremendous, it needs support from government and financial bodies as agriculture is the backbone of any economy. Increasing globalization, deforestation, soil erosion, excessive use of harmful chemicals, the introduction of new pests, and the occurrence of natural calamities could be possible restraints for the agricultural machinery market.
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