Agricultural Mechanisation for Soil Preparation in Rice Cultivation

An integrated approach for mechanisation of rice cultivation in the Mekong Delta

  • Sectors: Agricultural mechanisation and Product transformation
  • Duration: 07/1993 – 12/1999
  • Volume: 1.5 Mill. Euro
  • Persons/ Months: 25
  • Client: Austrian Development Cooperation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Vienna
  • Partner: AGROMAS – Agricultural Machinery Supply Company, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Following a call of the Vietnamese government, the project initially supported the rehabilitation of a fleet of some 600 Austrian tractors, delivered to Vietnam in the late 1970s. The project included procurement of original spare parts, as well as training in repairing, maintaining and appropriate use of tractors for mechanics, owners, farmers, and drivers. Later on, an integrated approach for mechanisation of rice cultivation in the Mekong Delta was developed, including local spare part production and a regionalised spare part distribution system. A total number of 400 Steyr tractors were rehabilitated, and several hundred users trained. The workshop also offered its services to the machinery of other brands.

Nevertheless, the project turned out not to be sustainable, given the high costs of material and spare parts. Based on this former experience, a tractor renting system was developed in the project-s second phase, aimed at collective use of equipped tractors at village level. Villages or groups of farmers identified their tractor operator, sent him for a preparative training and subsequently rented appropriate tractors at market prices. The objective was to provide suitable machinery at low cost that could help to ensure alimentary security, contribute to fully exploit the production potential and help to maintain the small farmers- production system.

Three experimental renting points were established in the Red River and Mekong deltas, each equipped with about 15 medium- and large-size Russian tractors plus locally produced or assembled ploughs, cage wheels and rotary tillers. The project included intensive training, especially for young farmers. It was operating well for several years but was only partly successful, due to uncontrolled import of second-hand tractors to Vietnam, which caused a fall in tractor-renting prices.

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