Mechanization in African agriculture has returned strongly to the development agenda, owing to the need to up-scale agricultural production and productivity. Its place in African agricultural transformation is being recognized and the focus now is to increase agricultural efficiency and reduce drudgery. Developing countries like Nigeria now aim at informed support for agricultural mechanization. This study was conducted to identify opportunities for mechanization policies and investments to increase productivity, incomes, and employment opportunities and add value to African produce. In particular, the research addressed four specific research objectives:
i. Compare different institutional options for mechanization, including state-led procurement and distribution of machinery and private sector activities.
ii. Assess opinions and policy beliefs with regard to policy instruments and effects related to mechanization, youth and digitalization.
iii. Assess the state of skills development for mechanization.
iv. Assess the effects of agricultural mechanization on rural communities.
The study (which was conducted in three states: Kaduna, Niger and Oyo) highlighted the active role that the private sector plays in mechanization, as most of the tractors in this study were sourced through private vendors. Most of the tractors were owned and managed by male, indicating that at the time of this study, there was little involvement of women in the use of tractors to drive the farm mechanization process. The major crops grown in the study area were maize, rice and cassava, among others. There was still a disproportionately high observation of the absence of competition by nearly a quarter of the respondents. These observations were much higher in Kaduna and Niger states, thus highlighting the need for the promotion of mechanized farming in these locations. The availability of post-purchase service packs was still minimal; however, the study revealed that more than a tenth of the respondents maintained their cars at home, thus indicating a willingness of the farmers to engage in repairs and leverage on potential profits along the value chain. Sources of gaps in knowledge in agricultural mechanization were identified, as approximately three-quarters of the tractor owners did not receive any training prior to and post-acquisition of tractors. The major reasons for the non-receipt of training were lack of awareness, as reported by more than half of the respondents, and high cost of training, reported by nearly a quarter of the respondents. The resultant vulnerability of the non-receipt of training could threaten the participation in tractor use and agricultural mechanization all together. The PID revealed that tractor mechanization is a development that enhances agricultural productivity, increases income and encourages Good Agricultural Practices.
Published as FARA Research Report Volume 5 No: 21 (2020).