1.0 INTRODUCTION

(a) General Information (b) Agro and Sub-Agro-Climatic Zones
 (c) Cropping Pattern (d) Scope of Farm Mechanization

a) General Information

Sikkim state came into existence on 1975, which is located in the Eastern Himalayas. It is wedged between the Kingdoms of Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east. With an area of 7,096 sq. km, it has a rectangular shape measuring about 114 km from north to south and 64 km from east to west.  Its population is 5,40,851, out of which 2,88,484 is male population and 2,52,367 is female population. This meager population is merely equivalent to approximately 0.05% of the total population of India. Sikkim state lies between 2714'36" N Latitudes and 8835'44"E Longitudes. Temperature seldom exceeding 28 C in summer or dropping below 0 C in winter. The region receives copious rains of about 3528 mm in a year.

 b) Agro and Sub-Agro-Climatic Zones

Sikkim belongs to Eastern Himalayan Zone. The State being hilly, the agro-climatic condition ranges from sub-tropical in the lower valley to alpine in the upper reaches

 c) Cropping Pattern:

Out of the net 7,096 sq. km approx. 11% of the total geographical area is under agriculture. Sikkim is very well known mainly for its orchids of which there are more than 400 species and rhododendrons numbering more than 35 species. The orchids bloom almost throughout the year depending on the species but most of them flower during springs and autumn.

d) Scope of Farm Mechanization:

Farm mechanization in Sikkim is almost nonexistent. Tractor density in Sikkim is 0.11 against per 1000 ha of agricultural land. The power availability is also very low. The scope for use of power tillers is limited to a few pockets. The large sized bullock drawn equipments like 3- row seed drills also cannot be effectively used due to narrow and tapering terraces and the weight factor. The land preparation to harvesting is normally done manually with traditional methods. The topography also doesnt allow for construction of large irrigation channels and for use of large harvesting machinery. The farming in Sikkim is mostly done on subsistence level. Nearly one third of the cultivation is of the shifting (jhum) type. Canal irrigation is quite low at around 1213%. Rice is the staple food and occupies 81% of the total area under cereals followed by maize (12.8%). Since, most of the farm operations in Sikkim are done manually, there is great scope of selective mechanizing where, small hand tools are being used resulting in human drudgery. For land preparation, small power driving machines, serrated improved sickles for harvesting and tubular maize sheller and rotary maize sheller for shelling corn may be introduced. Some gender friendly tools developed may be popularized among the farmers of Sikkim. Such as Pedal operated thresher, hand hoe, push-pull weeder, wheel hand hoe, manual dibblers, paddy weeder, improved knapsack sprayers etc.