Progress in Mechanization of Sugarcane Farms in Thailand
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Sugarcane is an important cash crop of Thailand. With a contribution of 5.5% to the total world production, Thailand is the fourth largest producer of sugarcane next to Brazil, India, and China. During the crop year 2014/15, about 103.7 million tonnes of cane was produced with a national average of about 76.6 tonnes/ha, higher than the world average of 69.5 tonnes/ha and also of those countries ranking higher in terms of total production. The major sugar-producing regions of Thailand are northeastern, central, and northern parts, for which the share of production was 44.59, 28.98, and 26.43%, respectively, in crop year 2016/17. Sugarcane is labor intensive for almost all operations, from land preparation to harvesting. Machinery can help in labor saving and timeliness of operations, improving quality of work, reducing drudgery and operation cost, and more importantly, increasing effective utilization of resources. Sugarcane growers are facing serious problems such as labor shortage and high minimum wage for manual labor. Sometimes, mishandling of a problem may result in other serious consequences. For instance, burning sugarcane to reduce labor requirement in harvesting may lead to other problems. Mechanization can play a vital role in solving problems and in improving efficiency of the present sugarcane production system. This paper presents the progress of farm mechanization in sugarcane cultivation in Thailand through on overview of the machinery used in different farm operations based on farming practices as well as their impact and also factors influencing the extent of mechanization in this crop. Future prospects of mechanization are also discussed.
KeywordsMachinery Sugarcane cultivation Labour Farming practice
Funding was provided by Thailand Research Fund.
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