Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New strategies for financing agricultural mechanisation

17 July 2014. Nairobi. New strategies for financing agricultural mechanisation.  Panel discussion. Session AFRACA and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD)

In the 1960s many African states set up programmes of large-scale farming which promoted mechanisation. However, these programmes have failed, which has led to a lot of scepticism about mechanisation policies. Currently, agencies which dare to design mechanisation programmes, simply provide equipment but hardly integrate its maintenance in their strategies.

These are the issues which this session discussed:

  • It is very easy to put equipment in place but maintaining it is a challenge. Nevertheless, if African agriculture is to become a modern sector, it needs to mechanise. But how, and how should mechanisation be financed? Today, this is far from clear. 
  • Nigeria is currently setting up a mechanisation programme, but it is based on many assumptions. Are we making the right choices? 
  • Should we go for a strategy based on cooperatives in rural areas, or a public-private partnership? 
  • Should mechanisation be subsidized by the government, or driven by the market? 
  • From the few examples of recent mechanisation policies that we can see, what has worked and what has not? 
Related (1):
Advancing Agricultural Mechanization (AM) to promote farming and rural development in Africa
Position paper of CEMA
July 2014, 6 pages.
  • The current levels of commitment and encouragement by international actors andgovernments to promote agricultural mechanization in developing countries are comparatively low. Infact, notwithstanding its fundamental importance and potentially beneficial role, AgriculturalMechanization, in the words of the FAO, is “the neglected waif” of agricultural and rural development in developing countries.
  • The successful examples of, for instance, Bangladesh and Indonesia demonstrate that whenever AM strategies have been tailored to local needs and integrated into broader agricultural policy approaches,they have proven successful in supporting farming and rural development.

About the European Agricultural Machinery
  • CEMA is the European association representing the agricultural machinery industry. For more than 50 years CEMA has acted as a network of national associations and provides services, advice and a common European industry view on relevant topics. 
  • The industry represented by CEMA includes 4,500 manufacturers of agricultural equipment employing directly 135,000 persons and indirectly in the distribution and service network another 125,000 persons. 
  • The companies are mainly small and medium-sized manufacturers according to the EU definition and in 2011 had a total turnover of 26 billion euro.

Related (2):
Farm power and conservation agriculture for sustainable intensification (FACASI)
Australian International Food Security Center (AIFSC) Investment:
$3.9 million, Co-contribution: $1.4 million
From 29 April to 10 May 2013, 16 agricultural engineers, 
agronomists, machinery importers, and machinery 
manufacturers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, 
and Zimbabwe took part in a study tour in India 
organised by CIMMYT and the Indian 
Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
The aim of this project is to identify appropriate small-scale machines (e.g. 2-wheel tractors) to improve farming practices (such as planting, harvesting, milling and transporting), and the commercial mechanisms needed to deliver these to smallholder farmers. The project will identify opportunities to create new markets for equipment and services, and supporting policies and networks.

Only launched in March 2013, the Farm Mechanization and Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification project (FACASI) is already making significant progress.

Related blogpost:
Mechanization of conservation agriculture slashes farming costs
11 June 2014. IFAD. FARMERS can increase yields, efficiency and drastically reduce the cost of ploughing, planting and weeding in the 2014 season following the introduction of mechanized Conservation Agriculture (CA).

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