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Agriculture 2017, 7(6), 50; doi:10.3390/agriculture7060050

Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization for Smallholders: What Is It and How Can We Implement It?

1
3 Bourneside, Bedford MK41 7EG, UK
2
Plant Production and Protection Division, FAO, Viale delle Termi di Caracalla, Rome 00153, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jacopo Bacenetti, Ester Foppa Pedretti and Domenico Pessina
Received: 26 April 2017 / Revised: 1 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 June 2017 / Published: 10 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture Machinery for a Sustainable and Efficient Mechanization)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5958 KB, uploaded 12 June 2017]   |  

Abstract

Smallholder farmers are the main producers of the world’s food and they will have to increase production by up to 100 percent by 2050 to feed the growing population. This must be achieved while preserving natural resources and that is why sustainable agricultural mechanization (SAM) will be fundamental to the process. SAM is climate-smart and environmentally benign and essentially means no-till conservation agriculture, which requires specific mechanization inputs. Principally, these are seeders and planters capable of penetrating soil surface vegetative cover to deposit seed and fertilizer at the required depth and spacing; and equipment for management of cover crops and weeds. Mechanization is required not only for crop production, but also for processing and along the entire value chain. Mechanization inputs are usually expensive and so specialist service provision will be the indicated way forward. This will need collaboration from both the private and public sectors and will involve public-private partnerships to be developed in one form or another. Given the poor track record of public sector mechanization provision, the delivery of SAM should be firmly in the hands of the private sector that should be committed to SAM principles or otherwise be incentivized to the concept through smart subsidies. Improved information flows via smallholder farmer-friendly innovation platforms; and continuing development and testing of SAM technologies via regional centres of excellence will both be required—especially for sub-Saharan Africa. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate smart agriculture; environmental protection; mechanization service delivery; public-private partnerships; knowledge creation and dissemination; agricultural transformation climate smart agriculture; environmental protection; mechanization service delivery; public-private partnerships; knowledge creation and dissemination; agricultural transformation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sims, B.; Kienzle, J. Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization for Smallholders: What Is It and How Can We Implement It? Agriculture 2017, 7, 50.

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