The lack of an authority to certify the quality of imported agricultural machinery in the country is causing loss to both farmers and the sector of agricultural machineries, engineers said at a seminar on Thursday.

Bangladesh is still largely dependent on imported agricultural capital machineries that are often found substandard and their repairing and maintenance costs become a burden after several months, they said.

‘The establishment of an authority to standardise agricultural machineries have become an urgent necessity,’ said Bangladesh Agricultural University’s farm power and machinery professor Monjurul Alam.

The substandard machineries are brought every year to be used in the agriculture sector and exported machineries are no better, he added.

The seminar, titled Agricultural Mechanisation in Bangladesh: Present Status and Future Strategy, was organised by the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh in the afternoon.

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute chief scientific officer Ayub Hossain presented the keynote paper.

He said that farmers used machineries in planting and sowing seeds of about 5 per cent of crops.

About 7 per cent of harvesting and 8 per cent of weeding are done using machineries, said the keynote speaker.

About 90 per cent of irrigation and threshing is done using machineries, he said.

‘Mechanisation can ensure efficient use of agricultural input,’ he added.

Agriculture minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said that agricultural mechanisation was inevitable as manual labour was turning expensive every year.

‘Mechanisation will bring down the cost of production by saving both time and labour,’ he said.

He urged engineers to work hard to mechanise the agriculture sector and expand the processing industry.

Bangladesh is completely dependent on import for tractors, diesel engines, power tillers, rice transplanters, reapers and combined harvesters.

Razzaque said that the government had allocated Tk 3020 crore for agriculture mechanisation this year.

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