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TECA - Technologies and Practices for Small Agricultural Producers

Exchange Group on Mechanization

The TECA Exchange Group on Mechanization is the fruit of a joint effort by TECA’s team and the Plant Production and Protection Division of FAO. The purpose of this online Forum is to create a space for the exchange of information on mechanization and related practices, technologies and innovations - ranging from the use of simple hand-held tools to the implementation of sophisticated agrobots.

This group brings together farmers, institutions, and organizations involved in farming to discuss mechanization solutions in line with the ‘Save and Grow’ approach. The aim is to address misconceptions on the proper use of machinery in sustainable agriculture and to facilitate the adoption of environmentally friendly mechanization.

Click here for the definition of agricultural innovation

Click here for the definition of agricultural innovation

 

Agricultural innovation is the process whereby individuals or organisations bring new or existing products, processes or ways of organisation into use for the first time in a specific context in order to increase effectiveness, competitiveness, resilience to shocks or environmental sustainability and thereby contribute to food security and nutrition, economic development or sustainable natural resource management.

Innovation in agriculture cuts across all dimensions of the production cycle along the entire value chain – from crop, forestry, fishery or livestock production to the management of inputs and resources, to organization and market access. It may, for instance, involve planting new crop varieties, combining traditional practices with new scientific knowledge, applying new pest control and post-harvest practices or engaging with markets in new, more rewarding ways.

Innovation is not just about technology, which on its own may simply remain on the shelf. It is also, and perhaps most importantly, about social, economic, institutional/organizational and policy processes, and having an impact on the lives of family farmers.

This definition was discussed during the International Symposium on Agricultural Innovation or Family Farming

THE EXCHANGE GROUP AIMS TO:

  • share knowledge on sustainable agricultural mechanization for different agricultural systems;
  • hold discussions based on specific topics and raise issues related to mechanization;
  • share success stories, challenges, and opportunities in sustainable agricultural mechanization;
  • identify information gaps, problems and needs;
  • compile the discussion outcomes and identify solutions to address mechanization issues.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Participation is free and open to anyone interested in the topic.

To join the ongoing discussion fill out the form at the bottom of this page and submit your comment. If you are interested in previous discussions choose from the left side menu, fill the form in the discussion page and submit your input.

 

DISCUSSION

Can mechanization drive youth into agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa?

This discussion focuses on mechanization in agriculture within Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Despite being on the agenda for several decades, agricultural mechanization still shows very low levels of adoption in SSA. Concerning tractors, which are one of the most highlighted forms of mechanization, SSA has considerably low numbers. Notably, the latest statistics put the average absolute numbers below 30,000 per country. In total, only 10 percent of farm activities are done using tractors/machinery power, whereas the rest of the farms rely on human and animal power.

In general, youth involvement in agriculture is hindered by the drudgeries attached to mainly hand labour based farming that surround the sector. Particularly in SSA, the average age of farmers, between 50 and 60 years, is only marginally inferior to average life expectancy. Sustainable mechanization will not only increase agricultural production and productivity, but it will also encourage youth participation in agriculture and the establishment of agriculture based cottage industries.

With the low tractor numbers, machinery sharing models become the solution to enable an increase in the number of mechanized farms. Several youth-friendly information and communication technology (ICT) models have been introduced. They have the potential to ease the process of accessing tractor and related machine services by farmers and to offer services by machinery owners.

MODERATORS

  • Josef Kienzle - Agricultural Engineer and leader of the Mechanization task team (Plant Production and Protection Division)
  • Santiago Santos Valle - Agricultural Engineer (Plant Production and Protection Division)
  • Charles V. Plummer - GFAR Secretariat
  • Joseph Mpagalile - Agricultural Engineer (Sustainable Mechanization) Plant Production and Protection Division

3-5 April 2019 - Question 1:Why does the youth want to be involved in agriculture?

5 April 2019 - Question 2: What role does mechanization currently play in improving agricultural production levels in agriculture in SSA?

And more questions to come.

12/04/2019 - Charles V. Plummer (moderator) - GFAR

For the past few days, we have had an interactive discussion on mechanization and the role it plays in driving the youth into agriculture. Several challenges were highlighted and the ones that stood out the most were overly sub-divided pieces of land and the expensive nature of farm machinery acquisition. Some companies have come up with technologies that enable aggregation of demand and at the same time improve the efficiency of hiring farm machinery hence solving the two challenges highlighted. Use of technology can enable owners of assets to reduce the idle capacity of their assets through sharing models; it can also enable those who cannot afford to purchase some assets to be able to access services without having to own the assets.

Based on this knowledge, do you think, ICT models are going to make a difference in how the agricultural machinery service sector works? In addition, to what extend may ICT-backed mechanization drive the youth into agriculture?

Can you give some concrete examples of ICT models you’ve used or observed that are making positive change?

14/04/2019 - TOUGMA Maximin - Ministère de l'agriculture au Burkina faso

Je pense que oui. Du fait que la mécanisation réduit le temps de travail, car la pénibilité des tâches fait que beaucoup de jeûnes désistent

12/04/2019 - TAPSOBA S. Evariste - MAAH/DGPV/DIMA/SMA- Burkina Faso

La mécanisation agricole de mon point de vue est un indicateur clé pour caractériser le niveau de développement de l’agriculture d’un pays. Il est alors absurde de nos jours de parler de croissance agricole vrai sans mécanisation. Nous avons le devoir d’incarner cet orgueil patriotique qu’est la souveraineté alimentaire et tout pays doit se donner les moyens pour l’atteindre. Ceci dit, pour arriver au développement de la mécanisation agricole, il faut de primo avoir une vision, une stratégie de cours, moyen et long termes et aussi avoir les moyens de sa vision. Cette vision doit suivre une logique, une matrice fondamentale de prise de décision SMART à savoir : - la définition claire des priorités ; - la définition de la démarche ; - le choix des formes et types de mécanisation à développer en fonction des besoins et capacités des acteurs (traction animale, petite motorisation, grande motorisation, etc) ; - les leviers ou les maillons de la filière à actionner (le choix de la matière d’œuvre, l’organisation des fabricants, la formation des fabricants, l’organisation et la mise en place d’un service après-vente de qualité, la formation de spécialistes, la formation professionnelle sur la mécanisation agricole, prenant en compte toute la chaine des valeurs,…) ; - l’application d’une fiscalité préférentielle sur l’importation et la fabrication des équipements agricole. Des exemples d’approches réussies de mécanisation agricoles existent. On a : - la création de start-ups ou petites entreprises de services agricole motorisés (Unité de mécanisation agricole ‘’UMA’’ au Burkina FASO, Centre de prestation de service agricole ‘’CPA’’ au Ghana…) ; - création de Cooptatives d’utilisation en commun de matériels agricoles … Ce qu’il ne faut pas perdre de vue :  les équipements agricoles sont très couteux et il faut que les Etats appuis les agriculteurs à s’en acquérir ;  il faut que les acteurs soient former à l’utilisation, l’entretien et la gestion technique et organisationnelle ;  Il faut aider les producteurs dans le choix de leurs équipements en fonction de leurs objectifs, à l’aménagement de leurs exploitations (exemple : le dessouchage exclusif des champs à mécaniser) pour une durabilité des équipements ;  il faut mettre en place un SAV de qualité et accessible ;  Il faut organiser et prendre au sérieux la filière ;  La qualité et l’excellence doivent être de rigueur dans le domaine ;  mettre en place une législation claire encadrant le secteur pour son développement ;  il faut que la question de la mécanisation agricole (toute la filière) soit gérée par une seule structure par exemple, ‘’une direction générale de la mécanisation agricole’’ dans les pays en voie de développement ;  l’organisation des cadres de concertations permanents des acteurs ;  la mise en place des secrétariats permanents de la mécanisation agricole dans les pays ;  l’instauration d’un système d’évaluation performant et objectif du secteur ;  la promotion des bonnes pratiques en matière de mécanisation agricole (en prenant en compte la préservation de l’environnement)…

TRANSLATION: Agricultural mechanization from my point of view is a key indicator to characterize the level of development of a country's agriculture. It is absurd nowadays to speak of true agricultural growth without mechanization. We have the duty to embody this patriotic pride that is food sovereignty and every country must give itself the means to reach it. That said, to attain agricultural mechanization development, one must first have a vision, a strategy on what steps to undertake, medium and long term, and also have the means to achieve one’s vision. This vision must follow a logic, a fundamental matrix of SMART decision making, namely: - a clear definition of priorities; - the definition of the procedure; - the choice of forms and types of mechanization to be developed according to the needs and capacities of the actors (animal traction, small motorization, large motorization, etc.); - the drivers or links of the sector to be activated (the choice of the material, the organization of the manufacturers, the training of the manufacturers, the organization and the installation of a quality after-sales service, training of specialists, vocational training on agricultural mechanization, taking into account the whole value chain, ...); - the application of preferential taxation on the import and manufacture of agricultural equipment. Examples of successful agricultural mechanization approaches exist. We have: - the creation of start-ups or small motorized agricultural service companies (Agricultural Mechanization Unit '' UMA '' in Burkina FASO, Agricultural Service Delivery Center '' CPA '' in Ghana ...); - the creation of co-operatives for the common use of agricultural equipment ... What we must not lose sight of:  agricultural equipment is very expensive and countries must support farmers to acquire it;  stakeholders must be trained in the use, maintenance and technical and organizational management;  Producers need to be helped in the choice of their equipment according to their objectives, to the development of their agricultural production (example:  stump removal in fields to be mechanized) to guarantee the durability of this equipment;  A quality and accessible service needs to be set up;  The industry must be organized and taken seriously;  Quality and excellence must be rigorously upheld in the field;  put in place clear legislation regulating the sector in order for its development to take place; The question of agricultural mechanization (the whole sector) must be managed by a single structure, for example, "a general directorate for agricultural mechanization" in developing countries;  the organization of the permanent consultation frameworks for stakeholders;  the set up of permanent secretariats of agricultural mechanization in the countries;  the introduction of an efficient and objective evaluation system of the sector;  the promotion of good practices in agricultural mechanization (taking into account the preservation of the environment) ...

Team TECA
12/04/2019 - OUEDRAOGO RODRIGUE -

la mécanisation constitue une opportunité de travail pour les jeunes africain, dans la mesure que la mécanisation reste un domaine non saturé dans nos différents pays, et l'Afrique doit révolutionner sa production par l'utilisation de la mécanisation pour assurer la sécurité alimentaire et augmenter l’économie. Dans tout le maillon de la chaine de production. la transformation reste un maillon faible d’où la nécessite d'installer de nouvelles unités de transformation pour booster l'économie dans nos pays, cela constitue une opportunité de création d'emploi pour les jeunes.

12/04/2019 - Sammy Mukolwe - St. Patricks Lufumbo school

Mechanization will definitely drive most of the youth to agriculture.Most youth in sub saharan Africa will embrace the idea,the youth love latest technology they have embraced it with both hands why not in agriculture.If African government will seize the opportunity,reduce taxation on importation of agricultural machines,educate the youth on importance of agriculture we shall reduce joblessness and over reliance on white collar jobs.

12/04/2019 - Mahesh Chander - ICAR- Indian Veterinary Research Institute

In India, if We give option to youth that tractor or bullock, they would opt for tractor. Likewise, for any mechanical device would look lucrative to youth which reduces drudgery of farm labour. Youth would love to be innovative, creative, risk taking compared to their parents. But they don't own resources especially land ownership & lack of financing. The farm mechanization gives an opportunity to youth to get engaged with agriculture as they think it is something modern & smart.

10/04/2019 - John Agboola - AGCO Agribusiness Trainee/YPARD

Mechanization will certainly drive youth involvement in farming and the complementary value chain development. It is a step in the right direction but we should but conscious not to remove or stop placing emphasis on other complimentary incentives for youth in agriculture. The AGCO Farm-In-a-Box - www.agcofiab.com is an interesting way to package an all-inclusive mechanizations for youth in agriculture where you have Innovations + Technology + Mechanization + Training to equate to ( = ) Sustainable and Profitable Agribusiness Model/Operation.

10/04/2019 - Seth K. A. Frimpong - CCLEAr agribusiness consort

Mechanization yes can help drive the youth in agriculture. Mechanization should be looked at in both it’s affordability, access and smart mechanized equipment would enable the youth find agriculture interesting

10/04/2019 - Joseph Mpagalile (Moderator) - FAO AGPM

Thank you so much for the great discussion and contributions.

It is becoming evident that we all agree that agricultural mechanization is important for the transformation of agriculture and as a way of bringing the youth back into agriculture. So far, we have seen contributions regarding the challenges facing the development and promotion of mechanization. It will be nice to continue the discussion by sharing more experiences and examples on some of the challenges that the youth are facing and to discuss if they are different from the challenges that older farmers are facing.

We have seen excellent contributions and suggestions on different avenues that could be used to get the youth involved in agriculture again. Contributors have emphasized that innovations, smart technologies, capacity building and profitability are important when promoting mechanization for the youth. It is also important to ensure that mechanization together with other important aspects such as marketing etc. help to increase profit from agricultural operations so that the youth could see the benefit of their involvement in agriculture.

We also need to look at mechanization along the food value chain, thus creating more opportunities for the youth on areas such as the use of mechanization during tillage, harvesting, postharvest handling, processing, marketing etc. It is interesting to note that we are getting contributions on the importance of mechanization not only for crop production but also for animal and fish production etc. This will help to expand the options that youth could have for their involvement in agriculture e.g. using mechanization in the production of feeds, processing and value addition etc.

Some very good thoughts have been shared on the use of mobile apps to enhance mechanization promotion and use, with good examples shared from Asia. Sharing of experience from different regions helps to enhance our understanding and prevents us from repeating the same mistakes that others have made elsewhere. It also important not to take the focus away from mechanization technologies but rather to ensure that mobile apps enhance the promotion and application of mechanization along the food value chain to benefit farmers and youth in an effective and efficient way.

Another aspect that has been shared is to ensure that we enhance cooperation among all stakeholders involved in the promotion of mechanization including farmers, private sector, public sector, etc. while emphasizing on inclusiveness to ensure that the youth are not left behind. The issue of taking into consideration the local condition when promoting mechanization has also been discussed. This is another important aspect, especially taking into consideration differences in soil types, crops that are grown from one geographical location to the other etc. A better understanding of the local conditions would contribute to successful mechanization promotion.

Capacity building to enhance technical expertise on mechanization to support promotion of mechanization and youth involvement in agriculture is also very important. This aspect is also captured in the Framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Africa (SAMA) that was launched by FAO and Africa Union Commission (AUC) in October 2018. Such experts could also provide support in the development and operationalization of the national sustainable agricultural mechanization strategies etc.

The issue of high capital investment for some of the mechanization equipment and machinery, which could be out of reach for some of the youth was also mentioned. However, there are many small and medium scale technologies out there, which could be accessed by the youth. Small and medium equipment and machinery for land preparation, harvesting, threshing, agro-processing etc. are available. However, it is important to match the needs with the right and affordable equipment and machinery of good quality and that are effective and efficient. The issue of mechanization hire services is also important here. Below are some examples of machinery that could be adopted by small scale farmers.

http://www.fao.org/3/CA2983EN/ca2983en.pdf

http://www.fao.org/3/CA2544EN/ca2544en.pdf

http://www.fao.org/3/CA3010EN/ca3010en.pdf

http://www.fao.org/3/CA3354EN/ca3354en.pdf

http://www.fao.org/3/CA3157EN/ca3157en.pdf

http://www.fao.org/3/ca4067en/ca4067en.pdf

http://www.fao.org/3/ca2983fr/ca2983fr.pdf

We are looking forward to your continued contributions and participation in the discussion!

10/04/2019 - Victor Kabugu - Africa Agribusiness Academy- Kenya

Yes mechanization is one of the key enablers in achieving food security and improvement of rural income through increased agriculture production factors that are in tandem with SDGs 1 and 2 which are No Poverty and Zero hunger respectively. Regarding driving the youth into agriculture, i say yes it can. This is because most of the youth esp in SSA are unemployed or those who are, earn very little to give them a comfortable life hence if agriculture is made profitable with an added advantage of increased production with minimal and easier work all these being factors brought about by mechanization, then i would say the youth would be very much in business.

However for mechanization to achieve the above effect then a couple of issues need to be addressed.

(1) Landlessness-most of the youth do not own land and those who do own very small parcels of inherited land owing to increased population issues. Policies supporting youth communal land tenure should be put in place to enable the youth have space to engage in agriculture production. For those who already own land esp inherited land, speeding the process of changing their title deeds to their names would eliminate any conflict enabling them to engage in agriculture production without fear.

(2) Finance/market- enact policies that support agri-productivity such as reducing the amount of cheap agriculture imports that are mutual to SSA production. By doing this the youth will have a market to sell their produce increasing their return on investment and profits enabling them to purchase the mechanization and sustain it without constant requirement of loans and grants that are hard to come by.

(3) Research and capacity building in technology transfer to ensure its tailor made to the specific needs of the users. This will eliminate wastage of resources in technology that will not benefit the youth in agribusiness. With these then mechanization will definitely bring the youth on board in agriculture.

10/04/2019 - Djakou Yopo Rodrigue - Coopérative d'Expertise et d'Appui Conseil en Développement Rural (CEADER Coop-CA)

La mécanisation pourrait aider les jeunes à s'investir davantage dans l'agriculture en Afrique subsaharienne. Deja, il faut dire que depuis quelques années, les politiques encouragent les jeunes en Afr. Subs. à créer des exploitations agricoles et des start-up agropastorales ; ces initiatives pour les jeunes sont butées à plusieurs contraintes dont la mécanisation des processus agricoles. C'est le cas au Cameroun où il n'existe par une véritable politique en faveur de la promotion de l'agriculture mécanisée (pas de politique en hydraulique agricole, en mécanisation de l'agriculture, etc.). Il faut noter que la plupart des actions menées dans ce sens sont la contribution des partenaires techniques et financiers externes et pour qu'elles entrent en vigueur au niveau national, il faut un cadre règlementaire. J'estime aussi que la jeunesse qui est accompagné notamment au Cameroun ne trouve pas une ouverture pour exprimer ses besoins. C'est comme ci on souhaite vous soigner sans vous demander de quoi vous avez mal. Il faut des plateformes institutionnelles où les jeunes puissent s'exprimer notamment en matière d'agriculture mécanisée. Les technologies innovantes en agriculture sont connues des jeunes mais ceux-ci ne peuvent avoir accès fautes de moyens. L'accès à la terre est déjà une grande contrainte, l'accès au service mécanisée en est un autre bien plus importante.

TRANSLATION: Mechanization could help young people become more involved in agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. Already, it must be said that in recent years, policies encourage young people in sub-Saharan Africa to create farms and agro pastoral start-ups; these initiatives for young people face several constraints including the mechanization of agricultural processes. This is the case in Cameroon where there is no real policy for the promotion of mechanized agriculture (no policy for agricultural hydraulics, mechanization of agriculture, etc.). It should be noted that most of the actions to improve policy has been done thanks to the contributions of external technical and financial partners. For these policies to come into force at the national level, a regulatory framework is needed. I also think that the youth in question, in particular in Cameroon, do not find an opening to express their needs. It is like we want to treat you without asking you what your illness is. Institutional platforms are needed where young people can express themselves particularly in terms of mechanized agriculture. Innovative technologies in agriculture are known to young people but they access is limited due to lack of means. Access to land is already a major constraint, access to mechanized service is even more severely constrained.

Team TECA
09/04/2019 - Scott Justice - Stephen Biggs - Pvt Consultant

I would like to comment on the question "What is it about specific mechanization solutions, from mobile apps to IoT to smart tractors, that can capture the imagination of youth?"

I think in recent past and current ag mech discussion there has much emphasis on getting IoT and IT / App products into scaling ag mech / service provision markets . Having had a bit of interaction with Hello Tractors in Africa and a couple of the start ups in India, such apps and tech has gone through sea changes and taken many years and investment by donors and pvt equity and still not clear to many of us that they will survive or continue in their present forms.

I would also not bet against them but I also feel this discussion around higher tech takes away discussions from much more applied and simpler forms of scaling scale appropriate machinery and services. In much of South Asia it where there is huge numbers of service providers it is simply mobile phone networks that enhance a young or older service provider's bottom line in 2-wheel (power tiller) and 4-wheel tractor services (tillage, reaper, thresher, etc) and more recently combine harvester services. Early successes in South Asia pulled in many more young and old investors to set up small profitable service provision enterprises. Another thought or lesson from south Asia is that wide spread, easily accessed mechanization services emerged mostly where there more than one planting season per year. This means either irrigation (and in most of south Asia its small 5 HP diesel pumpsets pvt managed and many times as in Bangladesh water markets/sellers have emerged We have as has many other colleagues have written widely this subject- but precious little in Africa but see http://www.water alternatives.org/index.php/alldoc/articles/vol12/v12issue1/480-a12-1-6/file for similar irrigation process emerging in Zimbabwe).

OR some sort of quick turnaround CA / reduced till / rippers machinery planters are needed to get a second crop quickly established on the remaining soil moisture whose roots can then follow the moisture as it retreats down in the soil profile. Again these don't have to be large or expensive planters and even 1, 2 or 3 rows planters can perform this work.

TECA team
FAO TECA
09/04/2019 - Alfian Nafi Pradipta -

I agree that mechanization could lead into increase of youth working in a farm. Mechanization is one of the ways that will increase the productivity and quality of the goods. Through this technology many farmers achieve more income in a year. This fact could increase the interest youth form sub Saharan African or anywhere else in the world. As a youth , i believe mechanization will make a farming activities easier with a high profitable income. Technologies is a must have for youth nowadays. The industries revolution 4.0 has encouraging youth to develop and use technologies more often. Embracing them with the word mechanization will increase their interest, because farming no longer seen as old fashioned jobs with a low level income. Farming will become and industry that youth can count on for the living anywhere in the world. keep in mind that the mechanization must be thought early to overcome the problem about utilization. Socializing the program to youth might the answer to at least increase their interest first. The implementation can be done later by make a cooperation between government official, NGO, even farming industries to scale up the implementation of mechanization.

09/04/2019 - Bernadette Majebelle - Independent Consultant

I am a consultant working with Purdue University on PICS bag storage technology for smallholder farmers. Yes, mechanization in Tanzania can be a great solution to farmers particularly maize farmers if youths were involved and empowered. Harvesting and post - harvest management is a big challenge to farmers and this is where significant losses occur. Farmers still use sticks to thresh, do not have cleaning or grading machines. With appropriate machines the youth could engage in providing threshing/ cleaning/grading services in the whole value chain. At the end farmers would have quality grain for the market.

08/04/2019 - DAO Amadou - Ingénieur en agroéquipement en retraite présentement au Projet Jatropha comme source d'agrocarburant au Burkina Faso.

De mon point de vue, la difficulté de décollage de la mécanisation agricole en Afrique subsaharienne et particulièrement au Burkina Faso découle de certains faits parmi lesquels principalement figure l'insuffisance de personnel spécialisé qualifié dans le domaine. Naturellement au niveau décideur si personne n'est qualifié, il sera très difficile de faire comprendre d'abord les problèmes réels de terrain et de prendre des décisions idoines et courageuses. la plus part du temps, il y a donc cette opposition constante entre le technicien qui perçois les problèmes et le décideurs qui ne comprends pas la portée de la situation et la nécessité d'en faire une priorité. Même quand politiquement, on décide d'en faire une priorité en y investissant les moyens nécessaire, dans le montage des dossiers, il y a une insuffisance de vision par rapport à la mise en oeuvre. les aspects de formation et de suivi sont totalement mis dans les placards. Le pays doit "CRÉER" des cadres supérieurs et techniciens supérieurs spécialisés en mécanisation agricole sur les dix (10) ans à venir pour accompagner les programmes publics et privés. Il faut ensuite se donner les moyens dans ces programmes de faire l'accompagnement nécessaire après la formation. Les petits stages trois mois à six mois ne permettent pas à des novices de gérer une filière aussi importante que la mécanisation agricole à l'échelle d'un pays. la formation doit être pratique et aller sur le terrain chez les utilisateurs et cela dans tous les domaines (tracteurs & équipements, pompages & irrigation, etc. La mécanisation agricole est un secteur en pleine évolution. Le politique doit être en alerte pour capter les innovations, les tester avec les organismes de recherche et les mettre à la disposition des utilisateurs. Aujourd'hui, il y a des secteurs malheureusement où les utilisateurs sont en avance sur les techniciens. Dommage!!! En marge de tout cela je profite lancer un cri d'alarme pour la Nième fois à l'Etat: arrêter l'importation du pulvériseur comme charrue . Les terres agricoles sont une denrée de plus en plus rare. Nous avons tous le devoir sinon l'obligation de les préserver pour les générations à venir. Un de mes aînés me résumait au cours d'une de nos sortie de terrain la substance de réflexion d'un homme observateur qui disait que: DIEU pardonne toujours, l'homme quelque fois mais que LA NATURE NE PARDONNE JAMAIS. Arrêtons ensemble la mauvaise utilisation du pulvériseur comme charrue dans nos campagnes. VIVEMENT que l'Etat donne des bourses de spécialisation pour des étudiants au rythme d'au moins 3 à 5 par an pendant au moins 5 année minimum si on veut observer du changement positif.

TRANSLATION: From my point of view, the difficulty of agricultural mechanization in taking off in sub-Saharan Africa, and particularly in Burkina Faso, stems from certain facts, among which mainly the lack of qualified specialized personnel in the field. Naturally at the decision-making level if no one is qualified, it will be very difficult to first understand the real problems in the field and to make appropriate and audacious decisions. Most of the time therefore, there is this constant opposition between the worker/technician who grasp the problems and the decision makers who do not understand the scope of the situation and the need to make it a priority. Even when politically, we decide to make it a priority by investing the necessary resources, in the development of documents, there is a lack of vision in relation to implementation. The training and follow-up aspects are filed away. The country must "CREATE" senior executives and senior technicians specialized in agricultural mechanization over the next ten (10) years to accompany public and private programs.

 

We must then give ourselves the means in these programs to provide the necessary support after the training. Small internships of three months to six months do not allow trainees to manage a sector as important as agricultural mechanization at the country level. The training must be practical and be undertaken in the field with mechanization users; and this should be done in all fields of work (tractors & equipment, pumping & irrigation, etc). Agricultural mechanization is a sector in full evolution. Policies must be on alert to capture the innovations, test them with research organizations and put them at the disposal of users. There are sectors where unfortunately users are ahead of the technicians. This is a pity!!! On the sidelines of this discussion I take the opportunity to sound the alarm for the umpteenth time to the country: stop the importation of the pulverizer to be the plow. Agricultural land is an increasingly rare commodity.  We all have the duty, if not the obligation, to preserve this land for generations to come. One of my elders summed up during one of our field trips something to reflect on from an observant man who said that: GOD always forgives, the man sometimes, but NATURE NEVER FORGIVES. Let's stop together the bad use of the pulverizer as a plow in our campaigns. Let’s STRONGLY hope that the country gives specialization scholarships for students at least three to five per year for at least a five year minimum if we want to see positive change.

Team TECA
08/04/2019 - DAO Amadou - Ingénieur en agroéquipement au Projet Jatropha comme source d'agrocarburant/ Burkina Faso

La mécanisation peut être et doit être le moteur principal pour le développement de l'agriculture. Mais il y a de mon point de vue deux obstacles majeurs: - les jeunes ne perçoivent pas bien toutes les opportunités qu'offre la mécanisation agricole par rapport à leur milieu. Il faut de mon point que l'information dans un premier temps aille à eux, qu'ils s'en imprègne, qu'ils posent des questions et qu'il trouvent en face des personnes bien outillées capable de leur donner des réponses à leur préoccupations. - il faut œuvrer à mettre en place l'accompagnement dont les jeunes ont besoin (créer la motivation,chez les jeunes, les former dans les différentes disciplines qui les intéressent et surtout mettre en place des outils de financement souples et adaptés pour les encourager à franchir le pas). les crédits conventionnels en banque sont à des coûts trop élevés avec des conditions assez rigides. le plus difficile pour un jeune c'est de disposer d'une garantie pour un crédit bancaire. Il faut de mon point de vue les approcher, mettre en place des crédits à taux réduit d'abord pour les attirer dans le secteur et prévoir aussi les échecs car ils doivent être pris dans l'environnement et ils font intégralement parti du risque. On n'échoue pas parce qu'on veut mais bien parce qu'on fait des erreurs. Un fonds de garanti est donc nécessaire pour accompagner les jeunes entrepreneurs. Les sages disent que pour marcher droit, il faut d'abord marcher à 4 pattes, puis se lever, tituber avant de marcher tout droit.

TRANSLATION: Mechanization can be and should be the main driver for the development of agriculture. But from my point of view, there are two major obstacles: - young people do not fully understand the opportunities offered by agricultural mechanization in relation to their environment. From my point of view, the information must first go to them, that they absorb this information, that they ask questions and find well-equipped people who can provide them with the answers to these concerns. We must work towards providing the support that young people need (to create motivation among young people, to train them in the various disciplines that interest them and above all to set up flexible and adapted funding tools to encourage them to take the plunge in the agricultural sector). Conventional bank loans have high costs with rather rigid conditions. The most difficult for a young person is to obtain a guarantee for a bank credit. From my point of view, it is necessary to approach these young people, to set up low-rate loans first to attract them to the sector and also to anticipate failures because these also need to be taken into account within the environment and they are an integral part of the risk. We do not fail because we want to but because we make mistakes. A guarantee fund is therefore necessary to support young entrepreneurs. The wise say that to walk straight, you must first walk on all fours, then get up, stagger before walking straight.

Team TECA
08/04/2019 - SANON Pierre -

La mécanisation en permettant un gain de temps dans l'exécution des travaux, facilite la diversification des sources de revenus. L’insuffisance de moyens matériels, d'outils agricoles appropriés accroît les risques de productions qui fait peur à la jeunesse. Pour certaines spéculations, la réussite de la campagne dépend du respect du calendrier cultural, notamment l'exécution du semis et des entretiens à temps opportuns. Bon nombre de jeunes agriculteurs demandent d'avantage de moyens mécanisés puisse qu'avec la nucléarisation la cellule familiale il manque de la main d’œuvre pour conduire les travaux champêtres notamment en période de pointe, et aussi ils doivent scolariser leurs enfants qui ne sont plus disponibles pour les petits travaux de soutien comme garder et conduire les animaux. Les politiques de mécanisation doivent tenir compte des populations cibles, le revenus, les niveau d'instructions, etc. Qu'elle sont les charges de mécanisation que peuvent supporter les jeunes ruraux notamment? Présentement, je suppose que la motorisation intermédiaire devrait pouvoir aider les jeunes, à l'image des motos taxis qui ont permis à bon nombre de jeunes de se créer un employer. Ainsi, une stratégie de mécanisation vue sous cette angle devrait attirer bon nombre de jeunes dans l'agriculture. Par contre la grosse motorisation pourrait accroître le niveau d'endettement de la jeunesse. Dans tous les cas, il serait nécessaire un accompagnement des populations cibles afin de facilité leur adaptation à la technologie introduite.

TRANSLATION: Mechanization, by saving work time, facilitates the diversification of sources of income. Insufficient material resources and appropriate agricultural tools increase production risks that dissuade young people. Some speculate that the success of the campaign depends on the respect of the cropping calendar, in particular the execution of the sowing and maintenance in due time. Many young farmers demand more mechanized means since, with more nuclear family units, there is a lack of manpower to conduct field work, especially during peak periods. They must also send their children to school and who are therefore as a result no longer available to do small jobs like keeping and driving animals. Mechanization policies must take into account target populations, income, level of instruction, etc. What are the costs of mechanization that can support rural young people in particular? Currently, I suppose that intermediate motorization should be able to help young people, like the motorcycle taxis that have allowed many young people to gain employment. Thus, a mechanization strategy seen from this angle should attract many young people to agriculture. On the other hand, large motorization could increase the level of youth indebtedness. In any case, it would be necessary to support the target populations in order to facilitate their adaptation to the introduced technology.

Team TECA
08/04/2019 - Adinoyi Aliyu - ICRISAT

I strongly agreed that agricultural mechanization is the key to improve the productivity and livelihood of the rural agrarian of the Semi Arid Tropics. However, appropriate technology suitable to the local practices of the farmers only should be selected for deployment. As what is suitable in one country may not necessarily be accepted in the other country of the same region. (Engr. Aliyu Adinoyi)

08/04/2019 - COULIBALY Kalifa - Université Nazi Boni

Apprendre à travers ce forum sur la mécanisation agricole pour contribuer à son développement dans mon pays

TRANSLATION: Learn, through this Forum, about agricultural mechanization in order to contribute to its development in my country.

Team TECA
07/04/2019 - Adedamola Ibironke - Citiveggies Limited

Definitely, mechanization can and it is fostering active and increased participation of youths in Agriculture. With the recent adoption of new technologies such as aeroponic and hydroponic farming, agriculture is gradually shifting away from a relegated occupation to big time business for both learned and so called illiterates. Many youths would like to venture into mechanized farming but for the attendant risk of huge capital investment to start up and the absence of necessary support in form of single digit loans and grabts with minimal or no strings attached. To get our youths taking the lead, it has to be a deliberate and conscious effort of sensitization, encouragement, mentoring and support. We at Citiveggies limited operate a traditional farm in Oshiele Abeokuta Ogun state, we have invested in piloting a green house to grow various tomato varients with great success. Now seeking funding to expand the farm but the requirements placed on the table by banks and investors are not encouraging. This is one of the reasons why the youths with lofty ideas get frustrated and such dreams get truncated. We will not give up until we get our hydroponic farm running.

07/04/2019 - Joni Jupesta -

I am interest with this issue since happened to my country indonesia too

07/04/2019 - SIDIBE Ibrahim - Initiatives for Agricultural and Rural Development

Comment on peut accompagné les agriculteurs dans l'utilisation des technologies et innovations, et capitalise leurs expériences sur les bonnes pratiques

TRANSLATION: How can we support farmers in the use of technologies and innovations, and build on their experiences on good practices?

Team TECA
06/04/2019 - Seu KAMBIRE - Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët Boigny (INP-HB) de Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire

Il n'y a pas meilleures opportunités de modernisation du secteur agricole que la mécanisation des activités agricoles. Pourquoi les jeunes de nos jours fuient le secteur agricole? Quelles sont les conséquences du déplacement des jeunes des villages vers les villes? Plusieurs raisons expliquent cette situation. Jusqu'à ce jour, les politiques misent en œuvre par les décideurs politiques n'encouragent pas l'investissement dans la mécanisation. Tout le monde parle de la mécanisation mais pas d'actions concrètes dans ce sens. Dans les écoles de formation, on assiste à un abandon total de cette spécialité. Ceux qui parlent le plus souvent, ne sont pas de véritables spécialistes. Avant de s'engager dans cette voie, il faut des ressources humaines capables d'accompagner les politiques dans les prises de décision.

TRANSLATION: There are no better opportunities to modernize the agricultural sector than the mechanization of agricultural activities. Why are today's young people fleeing the agricultural sector? What are the consequences of moving young people from villages to cities? There are several reasons for this situation. To date, policies implemented by policy makers do not encourage investment in mechanization. Everyone is talking about mechanization but no one talks about concrete actions in this direction. In training schools, this skillset is no long taught. Those who speak most often about mechanization are not real specialists. Before embarking on this path, we need human resources capable of supporting policy decision-making.

Team TECA
06/04/2019 - SANON Pierre - Société Nationale de l'Aménagement des Terres et de l'Equipément Rural (SONATER)

Oui, à partir du moment où elle permet une intervention rapide, donc permettant un gain de temps, elle facilite l'investissement des jeunes. Par ailleurs, une bonne stratégie doit être mis en œuvre. Le niveau de ressource des jeunes est faible, pendant que la mécanisation a des coûts élevés.

TRANSLATION: Yes, from the moment it allows a rapid intervention, thus saving time, it facilitates youth investment. In addition, a good strategy must be implemented. The resource level of young people is low, while mechanization has high costs.

Team TECA
06/04/2019 - Ayotunde Idowu Orintinsin - Agricultural Engineer

Mechanization in agriculture is the best form of agriculture not only in production and also in quality. Agricultural Mechanization simply great a path way for improved and better agriculture. The only problem hindering this wonderful innovation in Africa especially the youth in africa is the inadequacy of funds (capital). It's the sole responsibility of the government in Africa to make sure Mechanization is practice in agriculture. Government should create a platform for organisations such as FAO and some other agricultural organisation to organise am awareness programs Enlighten youth and also granting loans for start ups

06/04/2019 - Stephen O. Mensah - Kumasi Technical Univesity, Ghana

Mechanization in agriculture is a sure must which is long overdue. This can deal with the drudgery, inefficiencies, and low outputs from farming. Developing durable, efficient and yet less expensive machinery for on-farm production and post-harvest activities is the challenge. But the states can support with resources and funds. At least on a rental basis, leasing or long term financing.

05/04/2019 - Joseph Mpagalile (Moderator) - FAO AGPM

Over the course of the last two days we have had an interesting discussion about youths in agriculture and the reasons why mechanization might or might not attract them into the sector. But now looking at the general population we would like to know what role mechanization plays in improving production levels in SSA.

Of interest would also be to have an idea of the challenges that hinder farmers from mechanizing their farms. Some of the challenges have been mentioned as regarding youths but do they cut across the board? or the older generation of farmers face a different set of challenges in their quest to embrace mechanization? Maiwand Alamzoi highlighted several challenges that will set ground for discussion this new question.

05/04/2019 - Elie MOIGNY - Congolese Youth - Brazzaville

1-Keywords: 

Mechanization :the introduction of machines, automatic devices, innovative tools or technologies into a process, activity to improve it( Use of tractors, Lidar technologie, automatized irrigation system,etc...)

Youth: young people, human ressources, competencies, without money or job, small land -

Agriculture : the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products.

In well structured agriculture, we have some steps : production, storage , transportation, processing,packaging ,distribution and selling. 

Sub-saharan africa: is geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. It is tropical climate zone with a dry season and a rainy season. So we need certain kind of crops to grow in this area. Most of temperate zone agricultural techniques are inappropriate for tropical areas.Due to differences in climate, soils and others patterns, the crops are more subject to disease and feltilizer used in soils, are watched by the heavy rains. Tropical agriculture needs tropicalized crops with tropical agricultural techniques and methods (Crop rotation,associated cultivation,use of compost, coverting soils to "terra preta", etc...

My opinion: mechanization was the key of the agricultural revolution in most of the european countries.Most of the time, it was governments which were leading the program. Young people in SSA, don't have enough revenue to buy tractor and to have a large scale land where to farm. Most of times , they can only buy the small scale land. then the mechanization in SSA should be an innovative tools or machines for smale scale land which can be made locally or which can be acquired with an acceptable amount of money to help young farmers in production, storage , transportation, processing, packaging ,distribution or selling. Selling to local people should be the aim of the young farmer and to be able to sell, we need to transform the tropical products in what we do eat, drink or use everyday: flour to make bread from banana or cassava, juices from tropical fruits,beer from sorghum, chocolate from cacao, wine from mangoes,sauce ranch form eggs, etc... And before mechanization, young people in SSA need the right crops which fit in tropical area with the righ techniques and methods. And mechanization should be facilitated if we have like a manual guide or videos of mechanical solutions ( machines, tools,systems,..) made locally from existing one or welded solution

05/04/2019 - Siédouba Georges YE - IRSAT-DM Burkina Faso

Bonjour La mécanisation agricole est une ruche d’opportunités de création d’entreprises. Pour des emplois durables et économiquement viables, ces opportunités doivent se basée sur : 

  • Les contraintes existant dans la filière agricole à mécaniser et l’existence du marché à satisfaire, 
  • Les opportunités doivent s’intégrer de façon synergique la stratégie nationale de mécanisation ou les besoins exprimés par les populations ou le marché.

Elle doit répondre aux défis agricoles à relever, au Burkina Faso il s’agit de : 

  • Répondre à une demande croissante et une diversification/fragmentation de cette demande liées à un accroissement et une urbanisation rapide de la population; 
  • améliorer la productivité, la rentabilité des systèmes de production et d’adapter l’offre aux exigences de la demande: intensification et modernisation des exploitations – transformation agroalimentaire (perte post récolte = environ 40% production); 
  • créer des emplois et des revenus durables pour les jeunes - prise en compte des préoccupations des femmes (accès aux facteurs de production – technologies appropriées…). - L’implication de l’artisanat local pour la fabrication de certains équipements et les pièces de rechange 
  • Et enfin une bonne formation des jeunes et un appui en financement L’assurance d’une durabilité économique et viable doit se baser : - L’avenir? o le concept culturel: retrouver nos cultures et leurs valeurs pour nous intégrer o Le concept de technologies : savoir être, savoir-faire et savoir devenir

Exemple : l’Afrique, le Burkina le système éducatif est en crise c’est pourquoi le culturel et la technologie doivent être les guides! - Construire des scenarii (pessimistes, optimistes, probables, etc.) et faire le choix du meilleur scénario fondé sur l’éthique sans égoïsme, haine, ethnocisme pour rendre un service rentable aux autres!

TRANSLATION: Hello, Agricultural mechanization is a hive of business creation opportunities. For sustainable and economically viable jobs, these opportunities must be based on:

  • The constraints existing in the agricultural sector to be mechanized and the existence of the market to be satisfied.
  • Opportunities must synergistically integrate in the national mechanization strategy or the needs expressed by the people or the market.

It must respond to agricultural challenges, in Burkina Faso this means:

  • respond to growing demand and diversify/fragment this demand related to rapid population growth and urbanization;
  • improve productivity, the profitability of production systems and adapt supply to demand requests: the intensification and modernization of farms - agri-food transformation (post-harvest loss = about 40 percent production);
  • create sustainable jobs and incomes for young people - taking into account women's concerns (access to factors of production - appropriate technologies ...). The involvement of local craftsmen in the manufacture of certain equipment and spare parts; and finally
  • good training for young people and funding support. The assurance of economic and viable sustainability needs to be established: - The future? Cultural concept: to recover our cultures and their values ​​to integrate ourselves. Technological concept: to know how to be, to know how to do and to know how to become.

Example: Africa, Burkina Faso’s education system is in crisis. This is why culture and technology must serve as guides! - Construct scenarios (pessimistic, optimistic, probable, etc.) and choose the best scenario based on ethics without egocentricity, hatred, ethnocism, in order to render a profitable service to others.

Team TECA
05/04/2019 - Ivy Ivai Mudita - University of The Philippines - PhD student (Zimbabwean)

One of the reasons among several why many youths are not involved in agriculture is that they regard agriculture as 'back breaking', therefore mechanization may to some extent lure youths into agriculture. However, there are a lot of other factors to take into consideration.

05/04/2019 - Dr Demba DIAKHATE - Senegal Agriculture Research Institut ( ISRA)

Agricultural mechanization is the best way to push young people to land and therefore to agriculture. And to curb the rural exodus, attractive mechanization with the use of computers will certainly encourage young people.

05/04/2019 - olonijolu tosin oloniyo - Agric Officer at Lower Niger River basin Development Authority Ilorin Nigeria.

yes it can but must of the mechanization technology can be access by youth or young farmers there is need for more to be done to encourage the youth to come together and form cooperative society to combine effort/resources together gaining synergies to approach credit facilitators that can go into partnership with them on long term credit repayment plan for capital project like mechanization especially in the area of tractorization, implement and irrigation technology

05/04/2019 - Toyib Aremu - Mohammed VI Polytechnic University

Yes, mechanization is needed for youths to participate in agriculture. But it must be born in mind that technology transfer must go through the process of localisation. It is not enough to borrow technology without first seeking the inputs of those who would adopt it or checking if such technology could be localised where it is being introduced Similarly, any mechanization plan should consider costs and affordability. Now a challenge to mechanization in SSA would be the small scale of lands given that majority of the lands are below 2 hectares What kind of technologies can be introduced in this kind of environment?

RESPONSE: Thank you, Mohammed, you make a very good point about the need to adapt technologies and innovations to the local context. A bottom-up approach can help avoid wasted investments in expensive machinery by governments and programs. 

Does anyone have specific examples of successful adaptations of mechanized solutions to local contexts?

CVP
GFAR
05/04/2019 - Abraham Ng'ondo Othieno - Student at University of Nairobi and Strathmore Business School, Kenya

Divergent views would say mechanisation leads to job cuts, this is not the case for the informed. #Youths venturing into agriculture only want to make a decent living, improve agricultural productivity as well as create more jobs for their peers.

05/04/2019 - Geoffrey Wandera - Youths in Technology and Development Uganda (YITEDEV).

Youths are attracted to cool things/machines at the speed of light. Take for example smart phones. However expensive it may be, the youth will spend his all to have it as long as it's appealing to him. To be honest, rudimental tools are never appealing to the youths. They are highly expensive in terms of time investment and have always been the reason for low productivity. If we could replace animal and human labour with effective and efficient machines youths will definitely go farming without first thinking about the market. We should deviate from creating produce for the market to creating markets for the produce. Teach the youths what to do and they will show you how to do it.

05/04/2019 - Yemane Asmelash - Ghent University

If agriculture is supported with mechanizations, I belive that it can contribute to the food security of Sub-saharan countries. I think in many african countries, youth unemployment is widely spreaded. If we link youths to tractorization or engaging them in some modern agricultural practices, it is possible to reduce unemployment to some extent. For instance, in Ethiopia (Amahara Region, Fogera area) , youths are organized under entrepreneur scheme to provide ploughing services using tractors with reasonable fees for farmers. Farmers were happy to have such services and youth unemployment is reduced

RESPONSE: Thanks, Yemane, for giving this concrete example. Do you know if the youths are mobilized to the farms using ICTs? Mobile apps? Or is it a community-based system of word-of-mouth?

 

CVP
GFAR
05/04/2019 - Fasakin Aduragbemi Victor - Advic Farms

Can merchanisation drive youths into agriculture? The answer is a capital Yes, due to the following reasons Merchanisation helps lessen the burden of hard labour which has been termed to agriculture over time. Merchanisation would make agriculture attractive to the youths, taking a look at the prospects and broad value chain attached to most agricultural produce/products, the youths in their bid to increase their standard of living would want to delve into commercial agriculture, this in turn leads to massive food production, high level of employment, increase in foreign exchange,and import rate reduction. It should also be noted that most youths has a burning passion for agriculture,but the risks and uncertainties of agricultural enterprises has curbed their interest over time, with merchanisation in place, risks and uncertainties would be reduced to the barest minimum.

05/04/2019 - Kaganga John - Kikandwa Environmental Association (KEA)

Am very much interested in youth affairs and activities

05/04/2019 - Rutger Groot - East-West Seed

Mechanization, drones & other hi tec is nice - but youth will only truly be drawn (back) into agri if there is a profitable business to be made: agriculture should no longer be a poor man's way of life, but develop into rural entrepreneurship!

05/04/2019 - Jared Mark Matabi - UNFAO

Mechanization can be the real deal - the game changer - to attract and retain youth in agriculture and hence agriculture growth and sustainability. The greatest question will be, which approach should youth apply in embracing mechanized farming given the cost that come with mechanization? Can cooperative model be of relevance to help smallholder and rural youth farmers make strides in farming through mechanization?

05/04/2019 - Thomas Tichar - Wageningen University & Research - Centre for Development Innovation

Just joining this conversation - I have some views on youth specifically, but I'll aim to respond to mechanization more generally; -

  • access to finance. I find strategies to spread and/or minimise risk in agriculture to be quite weak, which in turn leads financial institutions (MFIs, bank) to be extremely risk-averse in portfolio allocation to the ag sector. Everyone points the finger at each other, but nothing much changes.
  • Policy. A lot of ag support policy is on production. That's fine, but my experience has been improving the supply chain stability (improving transport, quality control, coordinating aggregation points) can in turn encourage farmers themselves to invest in higher production tools, e.g. mechanization. So I think more public support needs to go into supporting value chain actors further up the chain, to complement the more standard input service provision subsidy, agri-vet supply, trainings, etc.
  • Design appropriateness. I visited some greenhouses in Ghana last week. Great to see! And obviously totally different from greenhouses in Holland because one is designed to keep the heat out, and the other is designed to keep the heat in. Tools need to be designed to be useful in context for them to be useful.

Apologies if I'm repeating things mentioned earlier.

05/04/2019 - Maiwand Alamzoi - UNFAO

Of course it can, all youth want good income, if we can work on the Agriculture Mechanization Systems and solve the problems, it will help Agriculture to increase yields and by increasing of product we can increase the income of farmers and youth will interest to work in Field of agriculture. Major Challenges for Agricultural Mechanization is: Agriculture mechanization faces many challenges, which are summarized below:

  • Lack of focus on small scale farmers in general terms in the country
  • Less attention paid for the commercialization of the agricultural products
  • Absence of appropriate agricultural mechanization equipment and services to the farmers
  • Nonexistence of educational center for promotion of agricultural mechanization as well as long term mechanization program and strategy
  • Less of participation of women in agriculture sector
  • Weak coordination between public sector and the private sector
  • Lack of subsidies for purchasing agricultural machinery
  • Deficiency of technical and professional capacities in agricultural mechanization sector in the country
  • Lack of proper supervision and control of imported agricultural machinery. 5. Objectives of Agricultural Mechanization

The General objectives of agricultural mechanization are summarized as follows:

  • Increase in labor productivity: The introduction of machinery to substitute for labor (“laborsaving”) is a common phenomenon associated with the release of labor for employment in other sectors of the economy or to facilitate cultivation of a larger area with the same labor force. 
  • Increase in land productivity: Mechanization helps to produce more from the existing land. Machinery is a complementary input, required to achieve higher land productivity, for example, through the introduction of pump sets, or faster turn-around-times to achieve higher cropping intensity. In labor surplus economies, net labor displacement or replacement should be avoided.
  • Decrease in cost of Production: Introduction of a machine helps to lower production costs or offset increased costs of draft animals or labor. Some additional benefits of mechanization can be reduction of drudgery of farm work, more leisure time and reduction of risk.
05/04/2019 - Steve Mululu - teachers in Agriculture -Kenya Chapter

Is there a way FAO can reach out to small scale farmers to empower them and provide them with capital to acquire these machines to help them improve on their farm productivity without going through the corrupt governments?

03/04/2019 - Charles V. Plummer (Moderator) - GFAR

Thanks so much to everyone who’s participated so far! All participants agree on the potential for mechanization to attract and keep youth in the ag sector in SSA. Along with many other examples, Andeso Lubanga pointed out the increasing use of GPS and of the Internet of Things, such as wearables for cows and soil moisture sensors.

However, participants have raised three main expectations that need to be met if mechanization is to fuel real change for youth: capacity must be increased, an enabling environment must be made, and profitability must be apparent.

Wilheim Napsy Okoko notes that youth must be educated on the technologies that are available today and be prepared to use them effectively – and they have to be able to afford those technologies. But Joseph Kisaka reminds that it takes money to make money, and to inspire confidence: “farm machinery is a capital investment that requires some levels of certainty with regard to the Returns on Investment”. Joseph points to a lack of access to profitable markets that would enable young farmers to turn enough profit to invest in mechanized solutions. To this point, Christabel Akiso believes that government subsidies are crucial to spark such investment by farmers. Finally, having enough land to farm on is the most important enabling environment, a point that has come up throughout the discussion.

If we can, let’s now turn from further analysis of the challenges towards possible solutions. What is it about specific mechanization solutions, from mobile apps to IoT to smart tractors, that can capture the imagination of youth? How can these innovations be rolled out and scaled up? How can they reconnect youth with the importance of producing food and get them excited to start careers in agriculture?

04/04/2019 - Humpho wetende -

Agriculture especially subsistence farming in SSA is the oldest economic activity of african communities. To date if you move around homes in the rural areas you will still observe small scale agricultural practices. However it remains that, just small scale and it is because of the intense land subdivision generations after generation leaving very small parcels of land that would be uneconomical to invest in large scale. We also have communities that still hold land title in trust or as community land which is not subdivided common among pastoral communities. However with large tracts of land they are dragged backwards by lack of proper education due to the fact that children will keep moving from place to place hence less or no time for school. Now a generation of improperly educated youth would be difficult to embrace mechanization in agriculture due to lack of knowledge. Additionaly the present day SSA youth are out to make quick money, that's y betting companies and pyramid schemes hit jackpots everyday in SSA. Agriculture is perceived to be a slow but expensive investment, Whereby u invest alot but wait for a long time to get the returns. This does not work with majority youth who prefer investment that brings quick and Mega returns. Lastly mechanization is expensive in that the few who are willing to practice agriculture in large scale cannot afford to buy the machinery.

04/04/2019 - Kiveu Wambaya - Kenyan police officer in planning department

Yes. Youths are eager to do agribusiness with aim of investing heavily and get good returns. The use of mechanized agriculture in mixed farming improves productivity , easy time , quality services and products to the farmer or youths practicing agriculture. Diary farming animals are fitted with technological devices which detects any diseases outbreak for veterinary doctors to swing into action. Use of tractors during planting seasons to plough, do farrowing, planting and even weeding of crops has driven more youths to agriculture. Use of incubators during chicken farming has made youths or youth groups attracted to agriculture - where the return investment is faster and ready markets. However, even if youths are driven to agriculture sector - there is need for market of produce or products or services hence through technology of e-business or e-commerce by use of Internet's like Facebook ,whatsup and twitter to reach more customers and suppliers. The subdivision of land has limitations on use of mechanized agriculture which has left small portions of land to practice agriculture. In nutshell, if youths can be given proper trainings, capacity building ,workshops and capital or start-up funds they can make a difference in life because machines are available.

04/04/2019 - Vallery Nandeche - fao

Yes.Especially for those who have land in terms of efficiency will help alot and also reduce the cost of hiring man power and moreso create employment to youths

03/04/2019 - Charles V. Plummer (Moderator) - GFAR

Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is dominated by smallholder subsistence farmers who are in most cases poor and aging. For this reason, youth in SSA tend to associate agriculture with poverty and drudgery. Most also do not own or have access to the main factors of production; these being land, capital and labour. As a result, most youths prefer to migrate to urban centres to find work in industries. Considering these and other challenges, the question becomes why does the youth want to be involved in agriculture, especially small-scale production?

WE ASK THOSE YOUTHS WHO ARE CURRENTLY PURSUING CAREERS IN AGRICULTURE WHAT MOTIVATES THEM, DESPITE THE CHALLENGES THEY FACE. COULD MECHANIZATION HOLD THE KEY?

04/04/2019 - Mercy mukolwe - Lumakanda CH

Yes it can,but the challenge with SSA ,the land is owned by the older folks(parents) and most do farming in the land hence it becomes hard for the youth to practice farming because they cannot have access to the farm therefore go to the city for job. Also most farms are subdivided to small farm (an eighth,quarter acre ) and the whole family depend on that farm,it becomes hard for a youth to stay there and do farming.

04/04/2019 - Adewale Ilesanmi - Blaze Agribusiness Incubation Center

Until technology is fully deployed in agriculture, the youth will always feel agriculture is unattractive to them.

04/04/2019 - Thoelen Jan - Amazone Farm Machinery (DE)

Training and education in Agmech are the key !!! You can find a summary of my research results @ https://research4agrinnovation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/pari-policybrief13.pdf

04/04/2019 - Tolulope Aina - Tolulope Foods and Farms

Agricultural has overtime been the occupation relegated to poor and rural dwellers who lack information, knowledge and market information. The scope of operation of these small holder farmers have been crude and drudgery filled. Due to education and the great effort of the media in agricultural reorientation has resulted in increased youth interest in agriculture. Now the youths are interested, they see what is achievable with mechanization and this forms the basis of comparism for them from what is still being largely practiced in sub saharan Africa. But the underlining issues exist in accessing these mechanization at an affordable price which will still make them sell at competitive price. Another issue is land tenure system and small farm size holding. This also makes it very challenging to access mechanization due to the small scale. Conclusively in my own opinion, Mechanization can be made affordable when land tenure challenge is combatted, youths are aggregated in clusters for ease of accessing mechanization such that it is affordable for the farmer and service provider and also good market linkages are secured. This will translate to the sustainability in the afoption of mechanization.

04/04/2019 - David Jitubaba Amunga Wabwoto - Kivukoni Limited Kilifi

Yes, Mechanization can drive the youth into Agriculture into SSA only if they embrace it and take it positively as a job or rather form of employment. But the challenge is the scarcity of large pieces of land because of overpopulation and lack of machinery to work on large scale farms. There is also too much land like thousands of acres owned by only one individual or a family but surprisingly enough, those lands are idle. No activity is taking place on them. So it is my feeling that if such farms can be accessible by our youth in the SSA and be equipped with proper machineries and the knowledge of farming and operating those equipments, we will be a healthy and wealthy SSA. I do support and say that all is possible as long as the right measures are put in place and the proper channel of farming followed using the appropriate mechanization.

04/04/2019 - Jackline Njihia - Young Diplomats of Kenya

One of the major issues farmers face is lack of accessible markets. Technology can play a great role in increasing accessibility with the digitization of the economy. Even our farmers in the rural areas are have access to digital devices. Machinery will also be effective for both large scale and small scale farmers and this will definitely increase production. The youth will definitely be motivated and will implement innovative ideas to increase efficiency. Where there is innovation, the youth have a part to play.

04/04/2019 - Moses Njovu - AGCO Future Farm

Mechanization is the key to Agriculture,in Sub Saharan Africa Humans Provide about 60% of the power required for land preparation.Capacity building and the Mechanization of agriculture is a PRIORITY , Youths and women are the key in agriculture to unlock poverty levels in individuals,agricultural mechanization can be game changers in increasing the welfare of farm households and creating positive dynamics and opportunities for economic growth in rural areas as to improve peoples lives and Africa at large.

04/04/2019 - Stephanie Gakuo -

Youth are interested in efficiency and quick returns. Technology is evolving; greater and more affordable innovations are making it to the market. Hand held planters and seeders are enhancing efficiency, reducing the drudgery that the youth loathe, utilizing inputs efficiently and coupled with digital technologies improve access to information required to enhance productivity. Youth have greater access to such technologies through national and local level credit initiatives developed to empower women and the youth.

04/04/2019 - Phillips Adeola - Federal University of Agriculture, Ogun state. Nigeria

Good ground to share research findings.

04/04/2019 - Jonathan S. Stewart - Agro Tech Liberia

Technology can be used to attract more young people to agriculture and agribusiness due to the fact that young people are inspired by the use of technology to solve problem and the efficiency and easy to do nature. Michanization can be a driving force for direct youth involvemennt in Agriculture productivity.

04/04/2019 - Peter Lombe - AGCO ZAMBIA

How do we motivate the youths in the agriculture sector if at all those with full knowledge and capacity do farming are holding on the information to themselves and are not willing to share to the less preveraged.

04/04/2019 - Oyindamola Asaaju - Farm Republic

Young people go where innovation, creativity and expression thrive. Mechanization makes all of this possible because it eases the process of doing things. From a small blender for processing to a giant tractor for farm operations, is Mechanization. A lot of young people are ready to do agriculture provided the archaic methods are put to rest. Young people want to drive tractors while listening to music, they want to have access to machines that ease their processing activitities. The young generation is fast moving and any sector that is not at that pace is at risk of losing the presence of the vibrant energy of the youths. Mechanization will not only drive youth into agriculture, it will sustain their interest.

03/04/2019 - Nixon cheplong - Teta Dairy and breeding co. Ltd

Yes mechanizaion can drive many youth to agriculture due to the ability to propel fast growth in agricultural activities.

03/04/2019 - Joseph Kisaka -

I wish to look at this discussion from a slightly different angle.There is no doubt the youth have considerably low interest in Agriculture partly because of the in ability to access land, labor and capital. Further, with increased land subdivisions it is no longer tenable to mechanize some farm enterprises. However, the greatest impediment to me is, lack of access to profitable markets.This discourages not only the youth but even the practising farmers from investing in farm machinery. Consider, farm machinery is a capital investment that requires some levels of certainty with regard to the Returns on Investment. But, many sub-saharan governments have embraced cheap food imports dampening the spirit of our farmers.In conclusion, protect the markets, make agriculture a profitable and attractive, the youth will be encouraged to join ,and in their quest to improve on their production and productivity they will embrace mechanization. Kind of a systems approach required here.

RESPONSE: What if the right type of machinery are promoted that will substantially reduce cost of production therefore making the agricultural produce competitive in the market, will youths be willing to get involved in agriculture?

Team TECA
03/04/2019 - Andeso Lubanga -

way across the field. The farmer drives hands-free while navigating more precisely and is able to manage other aspects of their business from the cab of the tractor. FitBits for Cows. In the same way that humans use fitneses trackers, the same type of wearables can be used to check cows’s vitals including their temperature, activity and behavior (eating, sleeping, lameness, gait) which in turn helps farmers improve cow health and comfort. An IoT dairy tech start up in India, StellApps makes wearables just for cows. GPS technology. John Deere installed GPS technology on its tractors in 2001. GPS technology on tractors and other equipment helps farmers with field mapping, soil sampling and crop scouting. It also allows them to work during low visibility field conditions such as rain, dust and fog and maximize efficiency. Water Use and Precision. Companies like CropX are using sensors to detect moisture in the soil and help farmers create irrigation systems for crops based on soil moisture and temperature. This type of technology can help farmers become more sustainable by customizing water applications to the soil. According to Krotz, technology like drip tape irrigation for vegetable and fruit farmers provide irrigation pipes with holes that are laid along the ground reducing evaporation and use less water than traditional flood or sprinkler irrigation. GM crops. Drought resistant GM crops and Bt crops - a bacteria that naturally produces a crystal protein toxic to many pest insects but allows farmers to use fewer, and in some instances, no pesticides – are two examples of how biotechnology can be used by farmers to farm more sustainably. Genetically engineered crops that can fight diseases are saving foods and the industries that grow them. Krotz sites that genetic engineering was used to save the Hawaiian Rainbow papaya from a virus which threatened to wipe the crop out.

03/04/2019 - Biniyam Gebrekirstos - University of Hohenheim

Yes, I believe it can. Of course it couldn't be the only input to attract the youth to Agriculture. In my opinion, the youth is highly interested to engage in any sector for that matter that brings good return. In this regard, the role of mechanisation to bring better productivity thereby profitability assuming parallel works on post harvest handling and marketing will be done is crystal clear. Most of all, I believe without irrigation just mere Agricultural mechanisation in most of SSA won't be as such productive. All in all, for sure custumized mechanization along with the other components that I mentioned and probably more would attract SSA's youth to Agriculture.

03/04/2019 - Christabel Akiso - Maseno University

Farming in East Africa is a major form of employment and a major source of food and income for many families. Be it livestock farming or Crop farming. All families practice some form of farming either as a major source of income, as a business, by default or just as a hobby or fun. Despite that, many young Africans think that Agriculture or farming cannot be a form of employment or Business for them. This notion should be discarded and young people should be educated to embrace farming. Further, farming in Africa is expensive and many young people are not able to establish themselves as professional farmers. Acquiring land, farm preparation, farm inputs and harvesting requires enomous amounts of funds. Some governments have tried to subsidize inputs and some even give loans to farmers to facilitate their ventures and to some extent there is success. Mechanization may make Farming even more expensive unless there is some form of subsidy to amateur farmers untill they become fully established. Most farms have become smaller as the population increases therefore mechanization may not work for those small pieces. Some communities agree to 'merge' their farms and make them big enough for easier mechanization. I totally support mechanization as part of many other methods of improving and promoting farming and guiding the youth to embrace it and practice as a business, or full time job not as a hobby or part time job.

03/04/2019 - Kilian Blumenthal - University of Hohenheim

Currently in Benin for a research project for my Master Thesis, which is part of the PARI project and it's mechanization cluster.

RESPONSE: Could you please elaborate more on the research you are doing and share with us some of your findings?

Team TECA
03/04/2019 - Menberu Gulilat - Gov't food security/PSNP/

no doubt, mechanized farming can be a solution for sub-saharan African nations, in terms of both absorbing of majority youth into employment path way, as it is one of the major challenges to the nation and also, it can serve to increasing a bulk production of agricultural imputes to feed the vast population. additionally, allows to flourish innovation and pave the way for agri-preunership, a path to the future. but how to create adapting mechanism? can be challenge.

03/04/2019 - Kiptoo Bett -

My comment is: Before we talk of mechanization should we also look at the access to land as a factor of production by the youth and also the form of ownership and access to economical use for production

03/04/2019 - Ferdinand Adu-Baffour - University of Hohenheim

Innovations like mechanized agriculture; which reduces drudgery, enhances early planting and weed control in rain-fed tropical agriculture which contributes directly to better yield which translates into appreciable socio-economic and employment benefits especially for smallholder farmers from my view point as a researcher will attract more SSA youth into agriculture. The question is what roles can African governments, private companies and institutions and the civil societies (NGOs and communities especially) play to promote the right kind of mechanization (or its combinations) fitting for our agri-ecology?

03/04/2019 - Wilheim Napsy OKOKO - YALI

Small holders farmers are facing challenges with education, markets analysis, capital to scale with new production and means and to what's said above youth mostly have been told to work away from agriculture jobs because of hard labor but a lot of awareness to encourage youth are ongoing and still a lot to do. Bring technology in mechanization can be a major turnover to increase and sustain production but at which cost? Which new education? We tend to focus in in creasing local production. How might we help youth in smallholding to educate with new technologies and be ready to use it and can afford it too ?



THIS DISCUSSION IS NOW CLOSED

Thanks to all our participants for the interactive exchange we have had for the past two weeks. Many important issues have been raised on how the adoption of mechanization could entice youths to actively participate in farming. Many participants have agreed that mechanization could actually drive youth into agriculture as it would reduce time and energy spent in performing agricultural activities. During the discussion were highlighted issues that impede youths from joining agriculture and that cannot be solved by mechanization alone. To attract more young people to agriculture multiple factors need to be considered, including improved policies on land distribution to increase youth’s access to land, improved access to markets for agricultural produce, and government subsidies on inputs including, among others, agricultural machinery imports.

A summary report based on the information gathered will be compiled and published on the TECA Forum page over the next days. Follow up discussions based on the contents of the summary report will be conducted around the topic of mechanization.

We look forward to your participation in the next forum.