Addressing the challenges facing agricultural mechanization input supply and farm product processing

Proceedings of an FAO Workshop held at the CIGR World Congress on Agricultural Engineering. Bonn, Germany, 5–6 September 2006

In October 2004, the President of the International Commission of Agricultural Engineering (CIGR)1, Prof. Dr.-Ing Axel Munack, and the President of the Max-Eyth Association for Agricultural Engineering within the Association of German Engineers (VDI-MEG), Dr. Ludger Frerichs, invited FAO to consider becoming a co-organizer, together with CIGR, the European Society of Agricultural Engineers (EurAgEng) and VDI-MEG, of the World Congress on “Agricultural Engineering for a Better World” which was scheduled to be held in September 2006 in Bonn, Germany. The Director of the Agricultural Support Systems (AGS) Division of FAO, Dr Geoffrey C. Mrema, readily agreed to this request. The AGS Division (which in January 2007 became the Rural Infrastructure and Agro-industries Division) was then reviewing its mandate and activities in area of agricultural engineering and agro-industries development especially with regard to their impact on food security. FAO is a global knowledge broker for the agri-food industry, including for technologies for production and processing. With the review of the mandate of the AGS Division emphasis changed from tackling problems directly related to production aspects to increased focus on strengthening input supply systems and value chain development. Improvements in these areas have the potential to facilitate market access for producers and enhance the potential to sustain and improve livelihoods and well being at what ever scale and in whatever region of the world.

FAO agreed to prepare and conduct two Workshops within the CIGR World Congress. The first one was on the subject of ‘Challenges for Agricultural Mechanization in sub-Saharan Africa’ while the second workshop focused on ‘Using Technology to Add Value and Increase Quality’. It was concluded that it was timely for these themes to be presented in preparation for the challenges of the 21st century and to address questions such as: ‘what should be the contribution of Agricultural Engineers and Technologists in FAO: first to the global knowledge system and secondly to tackling problems such as food security, environmental sustainability, agri-business and rural industries development.

The process of preparation for these workshops at the CIGR World Congress was in many respects a self reflection exercise for FAO. The results of the CIGR meeting do, to some extent, reflect the new philosophy and approach of the Rural Infrastructure and Agro-industries programme of FAO whose highlights are provided in Chapter 1 of this document. The contribution of the authors, as well as the conclusions and way forward outlined in Chapter 4, encourage the readers and also decision makers to consider the important role of engineering technologies in development and indeed for a better world as proposed by the theme of the Congress.

      Equipment and machinery inputs
AGS main series:
  Agricultural and Food Engineering Technical Reports
  Josef Kienzle; Brian Sims; Roberto Cuevas; Gavin Wall
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