Sustainable agricultural mechanization: A framework for Africa
This report (PDF) by FAO, presents priority elements for national strategies for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Africa (SAMA). Agriculture is crucial to Africa’s development but the sector is performing below its potential. The framework presented has ten key elements required for SAMA. There is a need to focus on a small number of priority commodities; the focus of sustainable agricultural mechanization (SAM) and the choice of crop to mechanize should be based on the level of total factor productivity to be achieved. Mechanization needs to be linked to market-oriented enterprises. Farm profitability should be seen as a condition that makes mechanization feasible, rather than as an outcome of mechanization. Policy environments that support the establishment and operation of viable and sustainabel businesses need to be prioritized by countries. Country-level SAM strategies should cover the entire agrifood value chain. Institutual issues that accomodate the interests of small-scale farmers, women and youth should be given priority. Human resources development at the artisan, technician and professional levels, and building of the capacity of farmers in commercial agricultural production are critical to the success of SAMA. Region-wide exchange of information and technologies should be created. Long-term commitment to SAM by key stakeholders in policy, strategy formulation, implementation and financing is critical to its success. Development of mechanisms to increase the flow of financial resources for agricultural mechanization investments from local financial institutions is essential. The institutional infrastructure that supports the development of agricultural mechanization at the national, subregional and regional levels should be strengthened. Regional cooperation is required for the attainment of economices of scale and scope and to create sustainable organiztion and institutions. Efforts to accelerate mechanization require substantial political and financial commitment. Governments and leader must remain streadfast in the process.