THE Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the African Conservation Tillage (ACT) Network signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to encourage sustainable mechanisation of farming in Africa.
A statement by Zoie Jones, FAO Media Relations (Rome), made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja, said the agreement would create easy access for small-scale farmers for sustainable farm mechanisation such as two-wheeled tractors and other labour-saving machines.
Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General, while signing the MOU said the partnership would be a platform to bring together stakeholders from the private sector, farmers’ groups, civil society, agriculture ministries and beyond to collaborate to achieve our vision of a Zero Hunger world.
Tijani, a former Nigeria Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, said the partnership would also seek to link the use of farming machinery to conservation agriculture.
“It is a farming system that promotes minimum soil disturbance and the planting of complementary plant species to enhance biodiversity and natural biological processes.
“In Africa, smallholder farmers use their own muscle power, such as hand hoes for around 65 per cent of the total labour needed for land preparation with draught animal power accounting for 25 per cent and engine-powered machines just 10 per cent.
“In South Asia by comparison, human muscle power is used for 30 per cent of land preparation work, while engine power represents 40 per cent, and in Latin America and the Caribbean engine power is used for half of all land preparation,’’ he said.
Tijani said that the adoption of sustainable agricultural mechanisation across Africa had the potential to transform the lives and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers.
Saidi Mkomwa Executive Secretary, ACT, said at the signing that massive adoption of sustainable agriculture anchored on commercial, environmental and socio-economic sustainability, would significantly contribute to the attainment of the AU’s vision: “The Africa We Want 25×25’’ of the Malabo Declaration and Agenda 2063.
He noted that one of the ways to achieve sustainable agricultural production in Africa was through the adoption of conservation agriculture and more appropriate mechanisation.
Mkomwa said mechanisation across the food value chain from production, harvesting to handling, processing and transportation would alleviates drudgery, raise farm productivity, increase incomes and provide new jobs such as mechanisation services and repairs.
He said that sustainable mechanisation could also conserve natural resources and enable agriculture systems to be more resilient to climate change.
Mkomwa said that the move had become imperative because AU had committed to banishing the hand hoe by 2025, while FAO and the AU in 2018 produced the Sustainable Agricultural Mechanisation a framework for Africa (SAMA).
He said that the MOU would contribute to implementing the framework, promote knowledge sharing and support greater policy dialogue on sustainable agricultural mechanisation and conservation agriculture.
The ACT Network was established in 2006 and is a pan-African not-for-profit international organisation dedicated to improving livelihoods in Africa through sustainable agriculture, agro-ecology, and ecosystem management. (NAN)
– Feb. 12, 2019 @ 12:45 GMT |