Rehabilitating agricultural mechanization in Africa
MetadataShow full item record
CTA. 1996. Rehabilitating agricultural mechanization in Africa. Spore 64. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47406
Mechanization no longer appears to be a priority in agricultural development strategies in Africa, although 60% of farm work isstill carried our manually. Mechanization has had a bad press. Only the failures of experiments and past projects are...
Mechanization no longer appears to be a priority in agricultural development strategies in Africa, although 60% of farm work is still carried our manually. Mechanization has had a bad press. Only the failures of experiments and past projects are seen, highlighted by pictures of fleers of rusting equipment; the successes are forgotten. Mechanizarion is also accused, rightly or wrongly, of destroying the land or creating unemployment in the rural environment. However, mechanization can increase farm productivity and hence profirabiliry: the main aim of a mechanization policy should be to enhance economic efficiency. But mechanization is only one factor in agricultural production, since its effectiveness depends on the use made of other factors (fertilizer, seed, pesticide, irrigation erc.): mechanization is nor an end in itself, but is one of the means of improving agriculture. Mechanizarion policies must have two main characteristics in order to be long-laying: one physical, the other economic. Firstly, the development of mechanization is practical only if it does nor degrade natural resources (vegetation, soil, water sources) which constitute the farmer's heritage. Secondly, mechanization is practical economically only if farmers can buy, maintain and replace equipment at marker prices. The Committee for Regional Agricultural Information Programmes and Srraregies (CRAIPS) for agricultural information activities in Central Africa has requested CTA to address this important issue in agricultural development. In response CTA has commissioned a study to identify appropriate means of increasing the awareness of the various people involved, (farmers, political decision-makers. national and regional insrirutiolls) about the contribution which mechanization can make to agricultural development in Africa. National and regional strategies for agricultural mechanization will be proposed, with particular reference to small and medium-sized farms.