Agricultural Mechanization Policies and Strategies in Africa

Case Studies from Commonwealth African Countries

In this publication sixteen leading African agricultural engineers present their views on the evolution of agricultural mechanization policies and strategies in Africa since the colonial times. Agricultural mechanization remains quite a controversial input in African agriculture in particular that of small holder farmers. Conflicting policy prescriptions have been given for the African agricultural mechanization problem by, among others, socio-economists, agricultural engineers and politicians from the academic and donor community as well as the national governments. The failure of the many Government sponsored tractorisation projects initiated in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s has greatly contributed to this policy and strategy conundrum.

Agriculture in most African countries is still undertaken by using the centuries out handtool technology with entire reliance on human muscle power in about 60-90% of the cultivated land. Whereas, everybody agrees that this has to change, the main question has been on how the change should come about. Should African countries go through the evolutionary path – from handtool though animal powered to mechanically powered agricultural mechanization as it has happened in the developed countries. Or should they aim at skipping the intermediate stage – animal powered mechanization. The experience of seven African countries (Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia) in agricultural mechanization policy formulation is presented in this volume. There are also chapters on the experiences of India and FAO as well as on tropical agriculture. This is the first book to present the full range of experiences in agricultural mechanization policy formulation in Africa. It is aimed both for development practitioners and policy makers as well as students of agriculture, agricultural engineering and economics.