It is the time for a new look at renewal of agricultural mechanization in Africa. A paradigm shift is required: from one of poverty alleviation to investment for economic growth, in which the focus is on sustainable economic growth.
On average, 700-1,850 tractors are used per 1,000 farmers in Europe and Northern America, exceptionally low levels of mechanization persist in many developing countries: a mere 5 tractors are in operation per 1,000 farmers in Africa.
Compare 5 tractors with 1,500 to 1,800 tractors per 1000 farmers
The total number of working tractors would have to be about 3.5 million (7 times more) to put Africa on a par with other regions. Agricultural would have to expand by a factor of about ten to approximately 400 000 tractors per year. Such a growth in tractor sales cannot be achieved immediately but could be in, say, 10 or 12 years. This would require urgent action to stimulate the market to attain sales of the order of 100 000 units per year within two or three years. As a comparison, tractor sales in India in 2005–06 were 264,790 units.
There has been a massive devaluation of many African currencies. This leads to very high cost of agricultural machinery which leads to reduced imports of machinery in Africa.
An illustrative quote (from FAO & UNIDO, 2008) helpfully summarizes the way forward: ‘If agricultural mechanization efforts are to succeed in Africa, there is an urgent need for all concerned, be they farmers, supporters, planners or policy makers,to understand and contribute to agricultural mechanization efforts across the entire farming system and with a value chain perspective’.
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How can African prosperity get started?
Over 60% of farm power is still provided by people’s muscles, mostly from women, the elderly and children. Affordability of mechanization is often beyond the reach of the small holder family. You can make a difference in so many lives.
Decades of counter-terrorism teaches that the best bulwarks against extremism are states that are prosperous and just. With your support, the middle class will band with the underclass to bring about regime changes.
You can help by expanding access to rich-world markets for African goods, particularly in agriculture and the opportunities for other African industry would also expand.
How does the world approach climate change? Unfathomable amounts of carbon emissions can be soaked up by trees? Your support will assist us in developing Today’s Tall Tree Nurseries in Africa.
A young African will move to the city if all he can earn is $10/day. This same African will return to the land because mechanization has changed the whole picture: the farms can now be more productive. Your support will take the pressure off African urbanization, which usually ends in abject poverty or crime in the city.