What needs to be done to give Africa’s smallholder farmers access to machinery

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In a new article published in The Conversation, PARI researchers Prof. Regina Birner and Thomas Daum from the University of Hohenheim highlight opportunities for fast-tracking smallholder mechanisation in Africa.

Mechanisation of agricultural has become a priority across many African countries as the continent gears up to exploit its well recognised potential to become the world’s food basket.This comes on the back of the fact that African farming systems remain the least mechanised of all continents. 70% of the farmers cultivate parcels of less than two hectares by hoe. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Africa has less than two tractors per 1000 ha of cropland. This number has sharply increased in all other continents, reaching ten tractors per 1000 hectares in South Asia and Latin America. Mechanisation can help unlock underutilised agricultural potential. The challenge is to develop arrangements that enable smallholder-farmers – who can’t afford to buy their own equipment – to access equipment like tractors.

Read full article here.