THE IMPACT OF AGRICULTURAL MACHANIZATION IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE

THE IMPACT OF AGRICULTURAL MACHANIZATION IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE

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ABSTRACT

Agricultural mechanization has been suggested as an effective for the development of agriculture in Nigeria. This study was conducted to have an analysis of the impact of agricultural mechanization in the development of agriculture.Mechanization in African agriculture has returned strongly to the development agenda, particularly following the recent high food prices crisis. The aim of this study is to assess the impact of mechanization on various farm household outcomes, using data from surveys that were conducted with 200 farm households.This study applied quantitative approach and the questionnaire issued an estimation procedure is used to estimate the impacts of the program. The results show that mechanization in agriculture is important, more efficient and very effective. The results indicate that mechanization services reduced drudgery and raised yield.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1              BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Agriculture is the practice of cultivating the soil and raising livestock to produce plantand animals useful to humans and in some instances animals, agricultural inputs relate tothose vital elements to be used to make agriculture both possible and profitable. These inputsare resources required to cultivate the land, produce crops including forestry, livestockincluding fishery, process, and store and distribute them. Agricultural inputs must thereforeinclude diverse elements such as land, capital and labor as well as research, education,communication/information, and engineering/technology. All these inputs and many moreconstitute agricultural mechanization which must be harnessed, controlled and organized forimproved agricultural practice. For mechanization management to succeed, some other inputsupon which it will strive must be available. These include good and focused political mannerof governance capable of formulating and implementing policies and laws that can acceleratethe process of economic growth and development.

According to Steve and Biggs(2015) in the past few years, patterns of rural mechanization have taken on a new significance with concerns about, among other issues, future global food supplies, food wastage and debates around land grabs,1 food security, rural employment, energy generation and use, and water scarcity. These concerns encompass the broader questions of whether, and under what circumstances, rural development should be seen as an important development goal. When discussions of future global food supplies are presented in the press, they are often accompanied by pictures of large-scale equipment such as powerful four-wheel tractors (4WTs), large combine harvesters (like aircraft in formation), and large-scale irrigation schemes. In land grab situations, if the land acquisitions are for agricultural production, there is generally a large-scale, highly mechanized agricultural production, processing, and marketing process involved. Articles and pictures of rural economies where smaller-scale mechanization plays a central part in increasing agricultural and other rural economic activities are seldom seen. Despite the media’s presentation, during the past 60 years smaller-scale equipment has been spreading throughout much of East and South Asia. Many Green Revolutions have come about not as a result of the spread of larger 4WT and large combine harvesters but as a result of the spread of smaller-scale equipment such as two-wheel tractors (2WT), shallow tubewells, smaller-scale low-lift pumps, small engines on boats, and artisan-made three- and four-wheel rural transport vehicles. Whereas much attention has been given to the role of high-yielding crop varieties in past Green Revolutions, little has been paid to the equally important role of engineering equipment for timely land preparation and sowing, careful water management, harvesting, threshing, and the local processing, transporting, and marketing of agricultural and other rural products, all of which lead to productivity gains and increases in cropping intensification. And while use of machinery in farming does not directly lead to increase in yields it can facilitate the intensification of production through quicker turnaround times, careful and timely use of water, plant protection, harvesting, and so forth, which do increase yields, reduce losses, and often reduce drudgery. Most past Asian Green Revolutions relied on cheap energy policies for the agricultural sector through subsidized fossil fuels, electricity, and urea. In addition, agricultural machinery was often subsidized with capital grants and low-interest loans. The future for many South Asian countries will depend on a more careful investigation of the short- and long-term outcomes of alternative patterns of rural mechanization. The purpose of this paper is to examine historical patterns of smaller-scale rural mechanization in South Asia to draw lessons for current and future policy. In the 1970s and 1980s, there were major choice of technique policy debates concerning rural mechanization, but by the 1990s the debates had nearly ceased. Since the 1970s many patterns of rural mechanization have taken place in different parts of the world. In the past, the choices of techniques have been limited to commercially available, Western-manufactured, large-scale machinery. Paradoxically, after the decline of the debates, the choice of techniques greatly expanded in the origins and numbers of manufacturers and expanded in scale to commercial small-scale machinery.

Agriculture is becoming increasingly mechanized throughout the world. As industrializednations approach complete mechanization, many developing countries are also makingsignificant shifts toward mechanized farming.Across the world, farming techniques are changing, but the shift toward mechanization isnot without difficulty. Africa in particular, there are growing tensions between farmland expansiondue to mechanization on one hand, and traditional land tenure policies on the other.During the last six decades, progress in mechanization of on-farm operations has been disappointing. However, some progress was made in mechanization of off-farm post-harvest operations such as in grain milling to the relief of mostly women and children. Much more is still required to transform on-farm mechanization scenario by liberating the peasant farmer from the ergonomically debilitating hard labor associated with the hand hoe farming. In addition, agricultural mechanization can contribute to improving rural livelihoods by breaking labor bottlenecks that constrain productivity and growth of rural incomes and thus making farming attractive to the young and educated. At a larger level, mechanization is a necessary dimension of transformational development strategy that promotes the sustainable commercialization and modernization of small-, medium- and large-scale farms and firms in order to accelerate agricultural development and initiate sustained poverty-reducing economic growth in rural and urban areas.

Agricultural mechanization

Agricultural mechanization includes the application of tools, implements and powered machinery and equipment to achieve agricultural production. In this regard, agricultural production includes crop and livestock production as well as aquaculture and apiculture. Three levels of power sources are involved: manual with entire reliance on human muscle power; animal powered; and motorized [both fossil fuel and electrical] sources. The term ‘agricultural mechanization’ covers the manufacture, distribution, repair and maintenance, utilization and management of agricultural tools, implements, equipment and machines in agricultural production from land development, crop and livestock production, harvesting and storage as well as on-farm processing and rural transportation. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO], agricultural mechanization in SSA has, remained at the first stage of the mechanization process – the Power Substitution Stage:which is the earliest developmental stage involving the substitution of use of animate power [be it from human muscles or from draft animals] with mechanical power from internal combustion engines and/or electric motors used in performing the energy intensive and often arduous and back-breaking tasks such as primary land tillage; grain milling etc. Such energy-intensive tasks require adequately powered equipment/implements to perform them. The mechanization process at this stage, is technologically straight forward i.e. introduction of the hardwarein the form of new and higher level power sources [whether animate or mechanical] especially for performing the difficult and arduous farming and/or household tasks. However, establishment of sustainable systems for the efficient and effective utilization and management of the hard ware has been the main challenge which most countries in Sub Saharan Africa have been facing. Within the term “mechanization” there is a large number of possibilitiesand technologies for farmers to choose from. These range from choosingbetween the different sources of additional farm power to selecting fromthe various other production enhancing mechanical technologies available.A judicious choice from amongst these is crucial for farmers to achieveoptimum profitability from their businesses and to attain an acceptablequality of life for themselves and their families. There is now also therealization and acceptance that the choice of mechanical technologies tobe used can also have a major impact on the environment; only the use oftechnologies which have a positive effect can be sustainable over the longterm. This sets a major challenge for all those involved in mechanization;planners, advisors, manufacturers, service providers, practitioners andfarmers. It is therefore important that governments should identify thecorrect strategies for increasing mechanization in their countries withparticular emphasis on increased production, farmers’ livelihoods, andenvironmentally sustainable options.In the developed world, maintaining existing levels of agricultural productionwould be impossible without mechanization. In many parts of the developingworld, the use of increased levels of mechanization is already making asignificant contribution to agricultural and rural development. In recent years,by means of development programmes and other incentives, governments ofmany African countries have been encouraging farmers to make increasing useof agricultural machinery. Unfortunately, these efforts have mostly failed tohave much impact on overall production, and there is now a realization thatthe acceptance and greater utilization of agricultural machinery is still belowwhat had been projected.Agricultural mechanization is a very broad field in which numerous factorshave to be considered. It is a cross-cutting term that includes severaldisciplines. In addition to agriculture, it includes many economic aspects. Itinvolves many different stakeholders coming from a whole range of sectionsof society; the smallest farmer can have an interest and be involved but so canvery large private and public sector companies and organizations across thiswide spectrum of interests.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Since the advent of mechanized agriculture, it has made a noticeable impact on human development.Several studies have been conducted on the impact of agricultural mechanization on production, productivity, cropping intensity, human labor employment as well as income generation for sustainable livelihoods of households.

John F M(2003) in his paper explores the land tenure system in BurkinaFaso and the rise of mechanization in the country, and the relationship that develops between these two phenomena.Houssou and Anthony in 2015 evaluated the impact of the recent public and private efforts to mechanize agriculture in Ghana and assesses whether farm mechanization led to cropland expansion and intensified use of inputs among farmers of the country. Human labor is still the main source of power used in agricultural work in developing countries (Jaffrey and O`Neil 2000). It is also responsible for approximately half of the cultivated area in the world (Ramansamy, 1994). In small-scale farms like this agricultural machinery with low cost and technological adequacy make rural farmers easy to operate.

By statistical observation, Agriculture provides 80% of the occupation in Nigeria(federal statistical report 2010) Agricultural mechanization is an enterprise that create wealth and youth empowerment in which one liter of palm oil or groundnut oil is more expensive than one liter of petrol or diesel in Nigeria. The situational changes to Agricultural sector, such as hikes in rural wages, increase in off-farm jobs opportunities, strong demand for improved welfare and lack of government interest to purchase farm machinery had retarded agricultural mechanization in some countries. Most farmers, cultivate less than 2ha on quite widely distributed farms..

 Now the scale of farmers’ response to mechanization in terms of cropland expansion, fertilizer, and labor use in General is what this project is about.

1.2              OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

This study was conducted with the following objectives:

1.   To examine the impact of the mechanized agriculture and how it is affecting agricultural development in Nigeria.

2.   To ascertain the availability and affordability of farm machines for the use of farmers.

3.   To identify the benefits obtained from using mechanized agriculture.

1.3              RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

HYPOTHESES ONE

Ho: There is no relationship between agricultural mechanization and agricultural development

Hi:There is a relationship between agricultural mechanization and agricultural development

HYPOTHESES TWO

Ho: Mechanization has a negative effect on crop production and productivity.

Hi: Mechanization has positive effect on crop production and productivity.

1.5       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The findings of this project work will not only add to the vast knowledge about the impact of agricultural mechanization in the development of agriculture, it’s designed to highlight importantly how mechanization has impacted the generality of farmers. It will be useful to government, international bodies and Non-Governmental organizations that are interested in agriculture and agricultural mechanization inmonitoring and evaluating the effects of existing plans and policies and how it affects Nigeria and thereby take necessary measures to improve and optimize their programs.

 1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

This study is primary concerned with the impact of agricultural mechanization in the development of agriculture inkaura Local government area of Kaduna State.

This study is limited to the Nigerian case study.The researcher encountered some constraints, which limited the scope of the study. These constraints include but are not limited to the following.

a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study     

b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS

There is a necessity for a common understandingof the terminologies and concepts used. It is also desirable for the laypersonto understand these terms and concepts.

MECHANIZATION: This is the introduction of machines or automotive devices into a process, activity, or place.

MECHANIZED AGRICULTURE: This means the process of using agricultural machinery to mechanizethe work of agriculture, greatly increasing farm worker productivity.

DEVELOPMENT: This is the process of developing or being developed.

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concerned with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study  


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