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Labor Scarcity and Farm Mechanisation: A Cross State Comparison


  • Reddy, Amarender A.
  • Rani, Radhika Ch.
  • Reddy, G.P.


The paper has analysed the trends in labour use (casual labour and family labour), machine use and labour productivity for five major crops namely, paddy, wheat, cotton, sugarcane and chickpea in the major states. The paper test the hypothesis that there are significant changes in the labour use, farm mechanisation and labour productivity across the states and crops by using the data collected from comprehensive cost of cultivation scheme for the period 1997 to 2010. The labour use per hectare decreased mainly in wheat, chickpea and paddy. The farm mechanisation is speeded up replacing both human and bullock capital. This transformation started in Punjab and Haryana and spread to other states. It increased labour productivity significantly when compared to land productivity. There is also a process of casualisation of agricultural labour as reflected in the increased share of casual labour in states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat and Haryana. However, in most of the crops in Orissa, West Bengal and in some crops in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan still the share of family labour is high with low level of farm mechanisation and less labour productivity which reflects the prevalence of subsistence agriculture. The positive association among farm mechanisation, displacement of family labour and increased casualisation of labour is observed across many states and crops. Some less developed states are catching up in the process. In this process, there is a steep increase in the labour productivity in agriculture, but the growth rates in wage rates are not commensurate with labour productivity growth. There is huge labour productivity gap that exists across the states with Punjab and Haryana leading with Madhya Pradesh and Orissa at the lower level

Suggested Citation

  • Reddy, Amarender A. & Rani, Radhika Ch. & Reddy, G.P., 2014. "Labor Scarcity and Farm Mechanisation: A Cross State Comparison," Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, vol. 69(3), pages 1-12.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:inijae:229840
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.229840

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:bri:cmpowp:13/317 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Erlend Berg & Sambit Bhattacharyya & D Rajasekhar & R Manjula, 2014. "Can Public Employment Schemes Increase Equilibrium Wages? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in India," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 14/317, The Centre for Market and Public Organisation, University of Bristol, UK.
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    Cited by:

    1. Satyasai, KJS & Balanarayana, M, 2018. "Can mechanization in agriculture help achieving sustainable development goals?," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 31(2).
    2. Hailan Qiu & Mingrui Feng & Yiming Chi & Mingzhong Luo, 2023. "Agricultural Machinery Socialization Service Adoption, Risks, and Relative Poverty of Farmers," Agriculture, MDPI, vol. 13(9), pages 1-19, September.
    3. Perel, O'Brien Jonathan & Bahta, Yonas T. & Mokhatla, Petso, 2020. "The Impact of Wine Grape Harvester on Labour in Western Cape Province of South Africa," International Journal of Agricultural Management, Institute of Agricultural Management, vol. 9, October.
    4. Elumalai Kannan & Sanjib Pohit, 2021. "Agricultural Growth Diagnostics: Identifying the Binding Constraints and Policy Remedies for Bihar, India," Review of Development and Change, , vol. 26(2), pages 207-225, December.
    5. Arlene Garces-Ozanne & Avatar Singh, 2017. "Revisiting The Decline In India’s Female Labour Force Participation: The Rise Of Machines And Security Risks," Working Papers 1712, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2017.
    6. Sucha Singh, 2020. "Spatio-temporal changes in the patterns of male and female agricultural labour in Punjab: A geographical analysis," Asian Journal of Agriculture and rural Development, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 10(1), pages 183-193, June.
    7. Rathindra Nath Pramanik, 2021. "Changing Employment Conditions in the Rural Labour Market of West Bengal," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 64(3), pages 825-841, September.
    8. Srivastava, S.K. & Chand, Ramesh & Singh, Jaspal, 2017. "Changing Crop Production Cost in India: Input Prices, Substitution and Technological Effects," Agricultural Economics Research Review, Agricultural Economics Research Association (India), vol. 30(Conferenc).
    9. Vis Taraz, 2023. "Public works programmes and agricultural risk: Evidence from India," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 67(2), pages 198-223, April.

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