The government plans to build a power tiller assembly-cum-manufacturing plant in the country at an initial cost of around Tk 5.0 billion.
The object behind building the plant is to further facilitate farm mechanisation and help boost crop production, officials said.
State-run Bangladesh Steel and Engineering Corporation (BSEC) will install the proposed power tiller production base on nearly 15 acres of land at Choypukuria in Bogura, they said.
According to them, gradual adaptation to machine-based agriculture practices keep rising fast because it helps production of multiple crops each year in the land-starved economy.
As a result, the government has come up with the development plan to ensure the supply of cost-effective power tillers to the growers.
Confirming the plan, BSEC chief engineer Md Nazmul Haque Prodhan said the power tiller assembly-cum-manufacturing plant will help reduce dependency on imported ones.
"We want to provide quality products at much lower prices to protect our farmers," he said.
BSEC general manager (planning and development division) Engr Md Saidur Rahman said they will initially set up an assembly plant which will later convert into a complete manufacturing base.
He said they have already completed the feasibility study conducted by a team of experts of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, who found setting up of the factory with an annual capacity of around 2,000 units is economically viable.
"We've already sent DPP (development project proforma) to the Ministry of Industries. We hope that we will get positive response from the ministry," he added.
Agriculture economist Prof Dr Mizanul Haque Kazal was on the team which was tasked with carrying out the feasibility study.
Talking to the FE, he said mechanisation has become an important factor for ensuring food security for the land-starved economy which keeps losing a good volume of foreign currencies annually due to import of agro machinery.
Sharing its findings, he said BSEC has unused land in Bogura which has already converted into a hub of agricultural machinery. "The proposed unit will be very much viable because 60 per cent of required materials for power tiller can be met locally there," he added.
Mr Kazal, who has recently joined Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, said they suggested running the assembly plant for three years.
"After that it could convert into a manufacturing one after development of skills and technical know-how," he said.
A very few private enterprises have been assembling power tillers on a limited scale that can meet only a little portion of the annual demand for around 0.13 million pieces, according to the industry insiders.
And the rest of demand is being met through imports.
The agro-machinery market size is about Tk 70.25 billion, of which local producers contribute roughly Tk 45.66 billion, according to a 2017 study conducted by Prof Dr Md Monjurul Alam who teaches at Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU).
Also, the local machinery repair and maintenance service market is roughly Tk 20.33 billion a year.
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