Agricultural Mechanization Southern Shan State. Research Highlights 16DOWNLOAD FILE
February 18, 2019 - Author: Khaing Wah Soe and Sithu Kyaw
Khaing Wah Soe and Sithu Kyaw. Agricultural Mechanization Southern Shan State. Food Security Policy Project Research Highlights, Myanmar 16, February 2019, East Lansing: Michigan State University.
Rapid agricultural mechanization has taken place in Southern Shan State, accelerating especially from 2013 onwards. However, although the vast majority of farmers already use agricultural machinery for maize and pigeon pea cultivation, only land preparation, planting and threshing are highly mechanized at present. Maize harvesting remains completely non-mechanized and mechanized direct seeding is very rare. Although small combines designed for harvesting maize exist elsewhere, they are not yet widely available in Myanmar.
Growth in the use of machines is attributable in large part to the development of private rental services, which have made agricultural machinery available to farms of all sizes, resulting in remarkably even uptake.
Tractors and trawlerjees have substituted for draft animal power in land preparation and crop transport, leading to a large drop in draft animal ownership and use. This is unsurprising given the time and cost savings associated with machine use in land preparation, including the opportunity cost of time spent tending for animals. The falling real price of these machines has also attracted farmers to invest in them.
Unlike in other areas of the country, real agricultural wages have not increased much over the past five years, and thus do not appear to been a major driver of mechanization in Southern Shan – convenience, availability, and price have been more important factors.
However, migrant flows are growing, making it likely that labor will become increasingly scarce and wages will rise more rapidly in the coming years. This scenario is likely to create more demand for the mechanization of labor-intensive activities such as weeding and harvesting.