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Two-wheeled tractors key to smallholder mechanization in Africa

April 28, 2015

The Farm Mechanization and Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification (FACASI) project held its second review and planning meeting, as well as mid-term review, during a five-day event in Hawassa, Ethiopia. This was followed by country site visits by the review team.

“The goal of FACASI is to improve farm power balance, reduce labor drudgery and minimize biomass trade-offs in eastern and southern Africa through accelerated delivery and adoption by smallholders of two-wheeled tractor (2WT)-based technologies,” said J.C. Achora, Knowledge and Information Manager, African Conservation Tillage Network. The meeting highlighted the importance of 2WT technologies to smallholders through five field visits, consisting of a youth community project, a vocational youth training institution, government research centers and manufacturing plants.

“Opportunities for use of two-wheeled tractors exist,” said Achora. “New projects coming up will ignite the demand for the two-wheeled tractors, and could trigger an increase in imports and manufacturing in Africa. Perhaps not too far in the future two-wheeled tractors could be the stepping stone to smallholder farm mechanization in Africa.”

FACASI participants learned and shared experiences on small-scale agricultural machinery, specifically the two-wheeled tractor, in diverse environments. Participants observed and drew lessons from services that support small-farm mechanization and associated business models.

Other places visited included the Hawassa research station for demonstrations of seeders and multi-use shellers and threshers, the Ato Tibebe Selemon Metal works, and the Selam Hawassa Business and Vocational College, which provides disadvantaged youth with practical training in metal fabrication and assembly and electrical installations. The last visit was to the Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), which integrates engineering into machines and installs industrial facilities.