Opinion: How crucial is Agriculture Mechanization ?

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Agriculture Mechanization

Mechanization is crucial to agricultural progress. It can improve agricultural productivity in a more efficient manner. Despite its importance in sustainable food production, mechanization in Africa is still in its early stages of development.

Agriculture MechanizationIn Ghana, there is an increased demand for mechanization by smaller holder farmers. Most of the services they need are for land preparation, particularly ploughing. Considering this, the government of Ghana created the Agricultural Mechanization Services Enterprise Centers (AMSECs) to provide smallholder farmers with subsidized agricultural equipment.

According to the findings of a research report (Ghana Strategy Support Programme) published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the AMSEC model is not a viable business model, even with present subsidies. It states that the most significant restraint on the profitability of investment in specialized agricultural mechanization service supply is the small operational scale.

Agriculture Mechanization Agriculture Mechanization

During my recent visit to the Jasikan Municipal Assembly-managed Agricultural Mechanization Services Enterprise Centre, I observed that some of the equipment had never been used, while others were out of service.

Agriculture Mechanization Agriculture MechanizationIn research commissioned by the Volta-Oti Women in Agriculture Network (VOWAN) on access to quality mechanization services and gender inclusion in the Volta and Oti regions of Ghana, it was identified that while there is a demand for mechanization services, supply-side issues are impeding it, particularly for smallholder farmers. The study also revealed that mechanization services in some areas have not treated men and women equally in terms of access. The causes of this inequality include the difficulty of serving or delivering machinery to remote women farmers and associations due to farm size and scattered farmlands.

As a country, we can’t attain food sufficiency if we don’t take a critical look at mechanization.

By: Henry Cofie Fordi

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