Mechanising Africa's Agricultural Sector
There are many promising sectors in Africa, as I explored all my attention and interest in Agriculture.
1/4 of the world’s arable land lies in Africa, Agriculture has the most impact on poverty alleviation, and as a sector, and Agriculture in Africa is potentially worth $1trillion.
With 65% of Africa's population under 35, there seems to be a mismatch between the youth and the opportunities in Agriculture.
As I travelled through Africa as part of my entrepreneurial adventures, and through my interactions with the youths there, it seemed that youths in Africa were generally not interested in Africa's agricultural sector, especially the women.
It seemed that Agriculture is closely associated with poverty, and there is a general perspective that Agriculture in Africa is too labour intensive. And those who were participating in Agriculture were doing so because it ran in the family.
Interestingly enough many African governments have agricultural transformation at the top of their agenda, but then typically there is a disconnect between what is said by these governments and what is actually done. More attention needs to be paid towards the factors that encourage youths to willingly participate in Agriculture. Mechanisation being one of the factors.
The importance of mechanisation can not be ignored, Yet there has been the disintegrated approach to mechanisation issues. This can be associated with poor planning by government agencies and over reliance on irregular or inappropriate, one-off aid-in-kind or other external mechanisation inputs. Lack of coordination within and between governments and the private-sector. The Design of national agricultural mechanisation strategic and implementation strategies has been seen as the solution, but even these have hardly come to realisation.
The general embodiment of mechanisation of Africa's agricultural sector come with some of the following benefits:
Increase the power inputs to farming activities, hence putting more land into production
Improve the timeliness and efficiency of farm operations
Improve the quality and value of work, produce and processed products
provide employment (entrepreneurship) and sustainable rural livelihoods
Provide agriculture-led industrialisation and markets for rural economic growth
Mechanisation also has a major impact on Food processing and value adding. Agro-industries add value to produce, and they are an essential component of the value chain in modern economies. The development of small-scale processing industries in rural communities would help add value close to the source of raw materials. This would reduce the current high levels of waste of fresh produce and would encourage producers to participate in rural commercial economies.
Agro-industries add value to produce, and they are a vital constituent of the value chain in modern economies. The growth of small-scale processing industries in rural communities would enhance value close to the source of raw materials. This would decrease the present excessive levels of waste of fresh produce and would encourage producers to participate in rural commercial economies.
In order to willingly encourage more youths (and women) in Africa to participate in Agriculture, we should draw upon experiences of other continents and particularly in the emerging economies of Asia and Latin America where agriculture has been transformed in recent years into a progressive commercial industry. Investment in agricultural mechanisation has allowed farmers to increase production and improve their quality of life as well as adding to the national and local prosperity. Investment in agricultural mechanisation has allowed farmers to increase production and improve their quality of life as well as adding to the national and local prosperity. In countries such as India, China, Brazil and Turkey, the rapid expansion in farm machinery demand has enthused the growth of local machinery manufacture to the point where these countries are now major producers and world leaders in farm machinery exports. Much the same could happen in Africa!