In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of “Smart and Affordable farming solutions for Africa: the next driver for agricultural transformation”, since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing.
Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization for Smallholders: What Is It and How Can We Implement It?
Brian Sims and Josef Kienzle, 10 June 2017
Smallholder farmers are the main producers of the world’s food and they will have to increase production by up to 100 percent by 2050 to feed the growing population. This must be achieved while preserving natural resources and that is why sustainable agricultural mechanization (SAM) will be fundamental to the process. SAM is climate-smart and environmentally benign and essentially means no-till conservation agriculture, which requires specific mechanization inputs. Principally, these are seeders and planters capable of penetrating soil surface vegetative cover to deposit seed and fertilizer at the required depth and spacing; and equipment for management of cover crops and weeds. Mechanization is required not only for crop production, but also for processing and along the entire value chain. Mechanization inputs are usually expensive and so specialist service provision will be the indicated way forward.
This paper is specifically about agricultural mechanisation: the opportunities provided by mechanisation for intensifying production in a sustainable manner, in value addition and agri-food value chain development, as well as the inherent opportunities implied for improved local economies and livelihoods. The establishment of viable business enterprises agro-processors, transport services, and so forth as a result of increased agricultural mechanisation in rural areas, is crucial to creating employment and income opportunities and, thereby, enhancing the demand for farm produce. Mechanisation plays a key role in enabling the growth of commercial agri-food systems and the efficiency of post-harvest handling, processing and marketing operations, and as such can be a major determinant in the availability and accessibility of food, the food prices paid by urban and rural poor, as well as contributing to increased household food security.
Mechanization covers all levels of farming and processing technologies, from simple and basic hand tools to more sophisticated and motorized equipment. It eases and reduces hard labour, relieves labour shortages, improves productivity and timeliness of agricultural operations, improves the efficient use of resources, enhances market access and contributes to mitigating climate related hazards.
Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Fresh Look on Agricultural Mechanisation
Much of sub-Saharan Africa’s farmland is (still) cultivated with the hand hoe, and agricultural processing and transport are often done manually. This limits the potential of agriculture in the region and the attractiveness of agriculture and its value chains for the young generation. One important improvement could be the mechanisation of (parts of) the production processes. However, this implies high levels of investment and risks for farmers, and the necessary financing is especially difficult to access for longer-term agricultural investments such as mechanisation. In addition, there can be trade-offs between mechanisation and employment for and of the poor. For a better understanding of how mechanisation can contribute to food security, we first assess the non-financial aspects of mechanisation. In a second step, the difficulty in accessing financing is analysed, distilling success factors for financing mechanisation.
Mechanised agriculture essential in Sub-Saharan Africa
According to a new report from FAO, mechanisation and appropriate mechanisation strategies have a large role to play in improving agriculture productivity, particularly in Africa, in order to feed the growing world population. The opportunity must be guided in a way that meets smallholder farmers’ needs and that does not require a Green-Revolution type of approach with high levels of agrochemical inputs and destructive ploughing operations that threaten soil health and fertility, according to FAO’s new report. Agricultural mechanisation: A key input for Sub-Saharan African smallholders underlines that agricultural mechanisation in the twenty-first century should be environmentally compatible, economically viable, affordable, adapted to local conditions and, in view of current developments in weather patterns, climate-smart. Mechanisation covers all levels of farming and processing technologies, from simple and basic hand tools to more sophisticated and motorised equipment. It extends far beyond ploughing and can contribute to productivity gains and new jobs in the post-harvest, processing and marketing stages of local and global food systems.
‘Smart farming’ to help South Africans tackle drought
Southern African farmers know a lot about climate change due to the worsening drought conditions they face. But, according to agriculture and development researchers, these farmers lack the resources to put solutions that work into place. That is in part because government agricultural extension services, which offer training and advice to farmers, have too few agents, states a report by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, based in the Netherlands. In many cases, farmers are simply not aware of potential solutions, said Oluyede Ajayi, a senior programme coordinator with the centre, speaking on the sidelines of a meeting in Johannesburg on scaling up climate-smart agricultural solutions. Such shortcomings are one reason an ongoing drought in southern Africa has left 23m people dependent on food aid, with another 13m in need of help, according to the Southern African Development Community, which launched a €2.5bn emergency appeal in July.
Smart Technologies Key to Youth Involvement in Agriculture
She is only 24 and already running her father’s farm with 110 milking cows. Cornelia Flatten sees herself as a farmer for the rest of her life. “It’s my passion,” says the young German. “It is not just about the money but a way of life. My dream is to grow this farm and transform it to improve efficiency by acquiring at least two milking robots.” A graduate with a degree in dairy farming, Cornelia believes agriculture is an important profession to humanity, because “everyone needs something to eat, drink, and this requires every one of us to do something to make it a reality.” Simply put, this is a clarion call for increased food production in a world looking for answers to the global food problem where millions of people go hungry. And with the world population set to increase to over nine billion by 2050, production is expected to increase by at least 60 percent to meet the global food requirements—and must do so sustainably.
Food security in sub-Saharan Africa: a fresh look on agricultural mechanisation; how adapted financial solutions can make a difference
German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), July 2016
Much of sub-Saharan Africa’s farmland is (still) cultivated with the hand hoe, and agricultural processing and transport are often done manually. This limits the potential of agriculture in the region. Mechanisation can help to alleviate food shortages and enhance agricultural development. However, this implies high levels of investment for farmers and some risks for rural populations and eco-systems. The necessary financing is especially difficult to access and risky for longer-term agricultural investments such as mechanisation. In addition, there can be trade-offs between mechanisation and employment. To better understand how mechanisation an contribute to food security, this study first assesses the controversial impact of mechanisation on rural populations and their environments. In a second step, the difficulty in accessing financing is analysed, distilling success factors for financing mechanisation. Thereby, the study aims at bringing the sectors of agriculture and finance closer together with the overall objective of fighting food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa.
Tractor Assembly to Begin At Makeshift Factory in Kibaha
The government is looking for temporary premises to begin tractor assembling by Polish tractor firm, Ursus S. A, as construction of an assembling plant is scheduled to begin this financial year at Kibaha in Coast Region. The Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Adelhem Meru, confirmed to the ‘Daily News’ yesterday that the project, which is part of a 110 million US dollars soft loan from Poland, would begin at a temporary location while construction plans for an assembling factory were being finalised. “We are looking for a temporary premise for assembling work to begin immediately before the construction of the plant starts,” he said over the phone on the planned tractor assembling plant billed to be one of the largest factories of its kind in East Africa.
Precision farming – the way to go for Africa
It is not wise and sustainable to continue practising conventional agricultural methods, such as ploughing and loosening the soil before planting as it puts stress on land resources and is worsened by effects of climate change, says global agricultural experts who convened in Brussels, Belgium, last week. The meeting brought together participants from the ACP-EU (Caribbean and Pacific countries and the European Union) technical centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the European Commission, the EU Presidency, the ACP Group, Concord, and other partners on key issues and challenges for rural development in the context of EU-ACP cooperation. The participants, who attended the meeting titled “Affordable smart farming solutions for Africa: the next driver for African agriculture” on 13 July 2016, recommended farmers to use soil management techniques such as conservation agriculture to increase productivity as that reduces soil disturbance, permanent soil cover and crop rotation.
Smart and Affordable farming solutions
This Briefing was organised by the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with the European Commission, the the European Commission / DEVCO, the ACP Secretariat, CONCORD, CEMA, Agricord and the PanAfrican Farmer’s Organisation (PAFO). Panel 1: Setting the scene: Drivers of smart-farming in Africa This panel discussed the available tools and approaches in support of smart-farming which can benefit the smallholders. It will also discuss public-private partnerships (PPPs) and multi-stakeholder alliances that aim at accelerating investments and transformative change in African agriculture.
Global Precision Farming Market 2016 Share, Trend, Segmentation and Forecast to 2020
Precision Agriculture involves systems, services and activities that collect, monitor, track, manipulate and analyse data pertaining to agriculture and farming namely information about the soil, crop, water, climate, yield, nutrients and other environmental factors. More so, the technology primarily handles the variability in the above mentioned factors. Precision Agriculture not only ensures efficient use of resources, maximizes output and profitability, but also provides a sustainable solution to farm management practices. The global precision farming market which is projected to witness CAGR of 12.64% over the period 2014 to 2020, will cross $ 5.5 billion in total market value by the end of forecast period.
Improved infrastructure ‘will make Africa more competitive’
New efforts by the Africa to develop key infrastructure facilities on the continent will help attract new investments and accelerate economic growth, as well as ease challenges faced by women. The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), spearheaded by the African Union Commission (AUC), is the first master plan that has been supported by all AU members to guide infrastructure development on the continent. Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing 27th African Union Summit in Kigali on Friday, Elham Mahmood Ibrahim, the AU commissioner for infrastructure and energy, said improving the continent’s infrastructure will play a huge role of helping Africa realise its immense potential, ensure sustainable growth, and reduce poverty and income inequality among the masses.
FAO: The EU has a role in Africa’s agriculture mechanisation
What are the main challenges of Africa’s mechanisation? Several unsuccessful efforts were made in the past, what is different now? Let’s start from the colonial times. When African countries became independent, either from French, English or to a smaller extent, Belgian rule, there was something left behind in the case of the British system; which was the public sector control of agriculture, including farm mechanisation services. So, it was part of the agriculture ministry’s business to provide farmers with services. African countries continued this approach, although it was heavily subsided by loans from the World Bank, and the whole process was getting very expensive and inefficient. There were public servants providing services for the mechanisation sector. But, for instance, they stopped working at 17:00 on Friday, and therefore there were no services provided on Saturday morning. These things normally do not happen in the private sector.