The Cost of Draft Animal Power in West Pakistan

Swadesh R. Bose, Edwin H. Clark


Most of the writings on the benefits of agricultural
mechanization begin with an analysis of the savings in cost which will
be achieved if mechanical rather than animal power is used for certain
agricultural operations. There have been some studies, mostly in India1,
which have tried to measure these savings. The mechanization issue
cannot, however, be judged solely on this criterion. In addition to
bullock displacement, mechanization is likely to involve farm-labour
displacement. As we have argued in a recent paper [2], the extent of
such labour displacement and its social costs are among the basic issues
which should be considered before going from bullocks to tractors. But
leaving aside these other issues, before one can measure the cost
advantage of mechanical power over animal power, one must define what
the costs are and how they should be measured. For mechanical power,
such measurement of costs is not difficult. We know the cost of
importing the tractor and its imple¬ments. We know the costs of fuel
which we have to pour into the machine every time we want it to do
something. The first is clearly a fixed cost and the second, after
adding repairs, maintenance, the driver's pay, etc., is clearly a
vari¬able cost.

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