FAO and the African Conservation Tillage Network reaffirm their joint commitment to sustainable agricultural mechanization

©FAO/Alessandra Benedetti

Agreement sets to increase opportunities and capacities for African smallholder farmers

15/11/2022 - 

4 November 2022, Rome Strengthening a shared commitment to driving innovations for sustainable agricultural mechanization practices, FAO and the African Conservation Tillage Network (ACT) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding.

The two organizations have been collaborating since 2019, working closely with farmers and value chain actors to support African farming households and create opportunities for economic growth. Today’s new five-year partnership will intensify work to improve farmers’ access to training and innovative farming equipment, as well as help mainstream the uptake of sustainable mechanization practices and enable smallholders to transition from hand tool-based labour to innovative technologies.

Through the new agreement, implementation of the Framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization for Africa (F-SAMA), launched in 2018 by the African Union and FAO, will continue to be a priority. In addition, there will be new areas of action, such as policy dialogue to encourage sustainable use of agricultural machinery, improve knowledge management and enhanced investments.

Optimizing processes and increasing resilience

Sustainable mechanization cuts working time and can relieve labour shortages, increase productivity and boost engagement of youth in agriculture. It can also help mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing harmful emissions and increasing farmer resilience.

Providing directions for increased investments into sustainable mechanization, the agreement sets out to support farmers in making the transition from subsistence farming to more commercially oriented practices and to pilot mechanization and digitalization innovations that are specifically adapted to local contexts.

FAO Deputy Director-General, Beth Bechdol, affirmed, “We need to focus on productivity increases for small holder farmers in Africa with environmentally viable solutions. The collaboration between FAO and ACT will be instrumental to continue to jointly upscale sustainable agricultural practices and agricultural mechanization”.

Saidi Mkomwa, ACT Executive Secretary, said, “During our partnership with FAO we have achieved a lot, especially in the implementation of F-SAMA. We need to keep working together towards sustainable agriculture mechanization, not reinventing the wheel but giving each other strength to move forward in this area”.

The signature of the agreement was celebrated at FAO Headquarters in the sidelines of the Global Conference on Sustainable Plant Production. This inaugural forum, for which ACT was a member of the Technical Advisory Panel, provided a space for focused dialogues on innovations for efficient and resilient plant production systems.

Click here for more information on FAO’s collaboration with ACT.

About ACT

ACT is a pan-African not-for-profit international organization that was established in 2006 to help improve livelihoods and wealth creation in Africa through the promotion of sustainable agriculture, agroecology, and ecosystem management. Its work is based on conservation agriculture, agricultural mechanization and good agricultural and value chain practices.