Mechanization and Crop Productivity, Profitability and Labor Use in Myanmar’s Dry Zone. Research Highlights 14DOWNLOAD FILE
David Mather and Ben Belton. 2018. Mechanization and Crop Productivity, Profitability and Labor Use in Myanmar’s Dry Zone. Food Security Policy Project Research Highlights, Myanmar 14, July 2018, East Lansing: Michigan State University
We draw the following conclusions:
1) Mechanization of land preparation is associated with higher yields in dry season paddy cultivation and groundnut farming, but not in sesame or monsoon paddy cultivation.
2) Productivity increases associated with mechanized land preparation appear to result from: 1) Adoption of complementary inputs (inorganic fertilizer and improved varieties); and 2) Increased timeliness of planting that enables farmers to avoid events such as heavy rains late in the cropping period, which may cause yield loss.
3) There are no observed differences in crop profitability for tractor or draft animal land preparation.
4) Mechanization of paddy harvesting and threshing is associated with higher realized yields as a result of reduced losses of grain during harvesting and threshing and (during the monsoon season) greater propensity to use improved varieties and inorganic fertilizers.
5) Surprisingly, despite substantially reducing labor requirements, mechanized harvesting and/or threshing does not appear to lower average production costs or result in significantly higher average gross or net margins.
6) Together, these findings suggest that some of the main advantages that mechanization provides to farm households result from: 1) Improved reliability and timeliness of planting and harvesting in a context where farm labor is increasingly difficult to obtain; 2) Reduction of risk associated with weather-induced crop losses; 3) Reduced grain loss during harvesting/threshing by combine, and; 4) Minimization of the physical drudgery associated with farming.