Agricultural mechanization in Mali and Ghana: strategies, experiences and lessons for sustained impacts
FAO has been assisting member states for over two decades to formulate strategies and implement action plans in order to develop agricultural mechanization. This was particularly important in the earlier years, as at that time the disappointing results of many mechanization schemes had led to the abandonment of the same. Efforts had reverted to focusing on improved hand tools, promotion of draught animal technologies and development of rural workshops, among others. Today, the agricultural development policies are turning full swing and many countries have, either unilaterally or with donor assistance, returned to the importation of substantial quantities of motorized equipment, including two- and four-wheel tractors.
Mali and Ghana, two African countries that are adopting this approach, have been chosen for an in-depth study of their mechanization activities. They are similar in that they are both in West Africa and also in the sense that both have previously attempted mechanization schemes based on motorized equipment. They differ in that Mali formulated an Agricultural Mechanization Strategy (AMS) in 2002 whereas Ghana, although having undertaken diagnostics of the situation on two recent occasions, never formulated such a strategy. The case studies allow an assessment of the impact achieved together with observations concerning their relative success. In this way, the document complements two others in this series, the first studies the supply chains for agricultural equipment (Sims and Kienzle, 2009) and the second presents a more historical review of some of the earlier mechanization schemes in Africa (Ashburner and Kienzle, 2009).