Food Security Global Food and Water Crises Latest mechanisation Strategic Analysis Paper Sub-Saharan Africa

Agricultural mechanization in sub-Saharan Africa, farm productivity and food security

Key points

  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the world's least mechanized agricultural system, and growing the supply of labor-saving equipment would help improve agricultural productivity
  • Agricultural equipment is an effective improvement software nevertheless it can’t
  • If political, social and financial elements which additionally contribute to food security have to be improved, a broader policy ought to be adopted.
  • ] China seems to need to keep its position as the editor of agricultural machinery in sub-Saharan Africa, and Beijing exhibits that agricultural help stays a key part of African coverage.


Agricultural productivity is low in sub-Saharan Africa, hampering regional food security. Worldwide Improvement Businesses argue that a wider introduction of agricultural machinery is needed to supply crops and enhance food security. Sub-Saharan Africa's food security can also be affected by social, economic and political challenges that can’t be solved by know-how alone. The mechanization of agriculture, which doesn’t take these other challenges into consideration, could possibly be one-sided, which might trigger or improve others. If mechanization packages contain training and enlargement providers that improve employment prospects and scale back environmental pollution, a few of the major challenges associated with agricultural mechanization might be prevented



The normal financial improvement model states that agriculture is the start line for broader financial improvement and poverty discount, particularly in nations where nearly all of the population is employed in the agricultural sector. Enhancing the know-how used by small farmers utilizing lower than two hectares of land and 70% of sub-Saharan African staff will create the idea for economic improvement.

"Unsung Hero", a 20th Century Economic Progress in the USA. Within the 1950s the machine had replaced 24 million animals on American farms, improved farm productivity and modified land use patterns. Publish-war Western Europe experienced an identical change. It was believed that creating nations followed the same path. Agricultural know-how was essential in elevating the usual of dwelling in the developed world, and it’s assumed that the mechanization of creating nations might lead to an identical end result.

Sub-Saharan Africa has been slowly shifting to mechanical agriculture and 60-80% of arable land is hand-handled without animals or mechanical instruments. This was not all the time the case, nevertheless, as a result of Africa was as soon as the forefront of agricultural mechanization in creating nations. For instance, in 1960, extra tractors have been used in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania than India. The truth that there at the moment are 100 occasions extra tractors in India than in three nations exhibits somewhat how a lot Africa is left behind. Additionally it is estimated that solely 10% of the land at present cultivated in sub-Saharan Africa is used, whereas 20% in East Asia, 35% in South Asia, 50% in Latin America and the Caribbean. and 60% in the Middle East and North Africa. The sluggish deployment of agricultural machinery in sub-Saharan Africa is likely one of the causes for its sluggish progress in enhancing food security.

Sub-Saharan Africa has probably the most malnourished individuals in the world, and after years of gradual improvement, the state of affairs has worsened in current years. Low agricultural productivity is usually talked about as the primary cause for food security in the entire area; the harvest is 44 % decrease than the international common. Growing agricultural productivity is subsequently thought-about to be crucial technique of enhancing food security in sub-Saharan Africa.

The shortage of recent instruments is among the foremost obstacles to agricultural productivity progress in Africa and is likely one of the the reason why it has been a internet importer of food because the 1970s. The shortage of machinery in your complete food manufacturing system, from subject to sowing, harvesting, post-harvest storage, processing, transport and retailing, makes food security in Sub-Saharan Africa rather more weak than in other elements of the world. While some African governments have tried to increase agricultural productivity by growing fertilizer availability and improved seed, agricultural mechanization has acquired much less consideration with varying degrees of success

International improvement organizations have solely just lately begun to restore their interest in mechanization 30 – specializing in different challenges. Agricultural mechanization packages, which operated from the 1960s to the 1980s, yielded totally different outcomes at greatest. Though in some instances they improved agricultural productivity, in many other nations they were not as a consequence of a scarcity of availability of spare elements and skilled labor

Nevertheless, food security in sub-Saharan Africa is more than only a lack of access to agricultural machinery. . Inhabitants progress, weak establishments and the rule of regulation (particularly in land possession), poor infrastructure, unpredictable and unstable climate patterns, weak international commerce relations, restricted storage amenities, food waste and waste, destruction, illness and economic instability are also expenses. Whereas higher access to agricultural technologies might improve a few of these elements, it proves to be inadequate to overcome all of the social, political and economic challenges that additionally affect regional food security.

Mechanization packages even have the potential to extend inequality in wealth. Giant cultivation operations can reserve the purchase and upkeep of machines, but small farmers try to do the same. Medium and giant farmers with more than 5 hectares of land are greatest mechanically in the absolute best means. If these farmers need to rent their machine for many who can't afford their own, these variations might be decreased. Alternatively, small farmers can guide easier, cheaper machines. Two-wheeled tractors, which are cheaper to buy and simpler to take care of, are thought-about to be a smaller device for smaller ones. These units are simple improvements handy tools which might be nonetheless used by small residents.

As a result of machining reduces farm performance necessities, it could also scale back the employability of unskilled staff. A lot of the 30 machining packages established in sub-Saharan Africa before 1980 failed because spare elements, operators and service technicians were not obtainable. Agricultural mechanization might create new service and maintenance employment opportunities if coaching facilities are offered as part of the mechanization course of. These facilities might also present the transferable expertise essential to diversify the financial system for the business and which might present jobs for a large youth who quickly reaches the world of labor.

There are several environmental issues concerned in the introduction of agricultural equipment. Mechanized agriculture was a factor that created mud bottles that affected the USA in the 1930s. In Africa, soils are prone to erosion resulting from low soils and heavy rains. Extreme tillage or inappropriate use of typical tillage gear (corresponding to plate or plate cutter) can expose the soil to rain and wind erosion. Typical tillage gear is extensively used in sub-Saharan Africa, but giant farms increasingly use conservation practices and applied sciences to attenuate soil disturbance. Small farmers are also encouraged to pursue conservation farming. If mechanization is profitable in the long run, efforts have to be made to make sure that all African farmers have probably the most applicable tools and strategies

Extending the land is one other environmental drawback that needs to be addressed. The mechanization of america and Brazil elevated agricultural manufacturing by expanding the amount of land transformed into cultivation. However, mechanization might scale back the need to take away new land for agriculture as a result of present farmland could possibly be made extra environment friendly

Chinese corporations in Sub-Saharan Africa are the primary suppliers of agricultural machinery and are more likely to receive more state help for exporting their gear than corporations established elsewhere. Nevertheless, Indian tractor producers also think about the world to be a desirable export market and are striving to considerably improve their presence there.

China's involvement in the development of African agriculture has led to the concept Beijing is looking for to take advantage of its continent to its own benefit. This concept has some competence, but it’s typically not formulated. The allegations that China has taken management of huge portions of agricultural land (up to six million hectares, or 1% of agricultural land in Africa) have supported Africa's idea of "second continent" in China. Nevertheless, these allegations are considerably exaggerated, and it is more probably that China has acquired solely about four% of this quantity. It’s questionable how a lot it affects the trade. China sees the mechanization of African agriculture as a approach of making enterprise opportunities for Chinese corporations and selling Chinese language merchandise to new markets, and not as a chance to improve China's food security by using African nations. The Food and Agriculture Group officers also see the usefulness of Chinese know-how transfers, which exhibits that the introduction of small machines from China has been probably the most necessary elements in agricultural improvement in Africa.

The Chinese authorities additionally think about agriculture as part of their internationalization. China's political decision-makers and political commentators have spoken concerning the Belt and Street Initiative, which promotes the involvement of Chinese language business and retailers in the agricultural sector. The China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC), which is held each three years, aims to strengthen China-Africa relations and additionally emphasized the central position of agriculture in China-Africa relations. On the latest FOCAC assembly, President Xi Jinping stated China would offer $ 60 billion to Africa. These funds can be used to fund totally different tasks, but for agriculture, he promised that:

We help Africa in attaining universal food security by 2030, working with Africa to develop and implement an motion program to promote China-Africa cooperation in modernizing agriculture. We implement 50 agricultural help packages, give RMB 1 billion emergency humanitarian help to African nations suffering from natural disasters, send 500 senior agricultural specialists to Africa and practice younger scientists in agricultural science and entrepreneurs in agriculture [19659008] hostility. One of the critics talked about by the Financial Occasions stated that "China is also a poor country" before asking, "Is there a country that can provide China with $ 60 billion in support?" ideologically in line with the Chinese language Communist Get together (CCP), who claimed that "Western forces" affect the CCP's African politics:

The West has put the basket in front of the horse in African politics. It emphasizes political governance, but doesn’t keep in mind industrialization. Western NGOs are very lively in Africa, however most on the continent are transport strains, power crops and manufacturing. Cooperation between China and Africa has created a brand new approach of working with equality, mutual profit and fruitful outcomes. It made the West who all the time needs to steer management in Africa, but all the time fails, feels uncomfortable. Thus, some Western forces are pure to take advantage of their public opinion by exploiting their unfavorable position in economic cooperation with Africa.

For its half, it immediately rejects Chinese citizens who query the CCP's overseas policy, confirming the concept international engagement is significant to China's long-term major technique:

The Chinese language also needs to remember that the good powers must fulfill their obligations. In any other case they may hardly stay where they are lengthy, to not mention it. It is small-minded to assume that it is inconceivable to help overseas nations because there are still poor individuals in China. It will probably hardly guide the nation's great follow.

China is more likely to stay the primary provider of agricultural gear in sub-Saharan Africa. While it also supplies technical assistance to regional farmers, it’s unclear whether it is going to help to deal with the social, economic, environmental and political challenges affecting food security. Developed nations with experience in overcoming these challenges also needs to contribute to the development of agriculture in the area