NSP - Labour saving technologies

The amount of power (time and energy) and the knowledge base a household can raise has a major influence on the household's livelihood strategies and is a major determinant of livelihood outcomes. The challenge is to identify, promote and support opportunities for mechanization to: relieve the burden of labour shortages, raise labour productivity, generate employment and enable rural households to become more resilient. There is a new sense of urgency to revisit labour saving technologies and practices (LSTPs) which can reduce the drudgery in farming and the burden of rural living, particularly for households and communities that are under severe labour stress. It is recognised that many LSTPs have been developed and are already in the public domain, for example, draught animals save time in land preparation or relieve the burden of carrying heavy loads; Conservation Agriculture reduces the time spent on  crop establishment and weeding; roof water harvesting reduces the need to carry water home; and mills save time and energy pounding maize. However, the gains made in reducing time and energy inputs are often offset by higher requirements for operator skills and knowledge. What is required is a means of enabling rural communities to access information, develop appropriate skills, and adopt and adapt the technologies to their own circumstances.

To learn more about technologies and practices for small agricultural producers click here

To learn more about labour saving technologies and practices please click the links below:

  • Land preparation and cultivation
  • Harvesting
  • Post-harvest operations
  • Household tasks
  • Rural transport


Hand tool technology and blacksmithing

FAO has  been intricately involved with emergency programmes for many decades. Under such circumstances, not only is assistance required urgently but it is also essential to ensure that it is sufficient both in quantity and quality. Overall objectives are carefully focused on encouraging sustainable recovery and there is often an urgent need for agricultural hand tools. These may appear simple at first glance but selecting the correct tool and ensuring that it is of adequate quality is fundamental for the success of any recovery programme.

FAO has prepared  Guidelines for Technical and Field Officers on Agricultural Hand Tools in Emergencies (FAO Plant Production and Protection Paper 214) 

The first aim of these Guidelines is to enable Field Officers to clearly identify and describe the agricultural hand tools required for the emergency projects with which they are involved. A second part contains more technical details and is designed for use by FAO staff together with suppliers and inspection companies. Its objective is to clearly indicate FAO procurement procedures, to provide detailed technical specifications for a range of agricultural hand tools and to describe how the quality of these tools may be tested.



©FAO/J. Isaac

Core Themes