Mechanization in African agriculture: A continental overview on patterns and dynamics
This study (PDF) by Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, provides an overview on the patterns and dynamics of mechanization in African agriculture from 2005 to 2014 along the entire value chain. The findings highlight great diversity across Africa, which indicates scope for cross-country learning from experiences. Some countries have simultaneously experienced a higher growth rate in agricultural machinery and agricultural output. While a large number of Africn countries combine a pattern of low growth in machinery with low agricultural output growth, including some large agricultural economies with potentials for growth. It might be instructive for policy makers and planners from these countries, to gain insights from African countries that managed to achieve higher agricultural growth, be it in combination with high machinery growth, or even with lower growth in machinery. Obviously, mechanization investments depend on a host of factors. A strong positive correlation between agricultural machinery growth and agricultural output growth was found, and vice versa (not depicting causality). Accelerating investments in mechanization in African agriculture and related value chains requires fresh policy considerations: 1)Analyses of the determinants of mechanization, costs and benefits, and the related institutions, seem worthwhile in order to define most suitable use of machine capital accessible to small holder. 2) Such analyses might best be done at country and local levels rather than in the context of the broad identification of patterns and dynamics that were the aim of this review paper. 3) Policy, however, also needs a country level strategic perspective, especially regarding machinery imports and services contracts, and for the build-up of African agricultural machinery industries.