Africa: the least mechanised agricultural system in the world


Africa’s agriculture has the unenviable global position of being the least mechanised. As if this was not enough, it also has the highest share of food loss and waste, and agricultural import expenditure by African countries is rising rapidly.

This was one of the key highlights during the launch of a report titled “Mechanized: transforming Africa’s Agriculture Value Chains” which was launched by the Malabo Montpellier Panel in July in Malawi.

The launch was attended by the CEO of SACAU, who is also a member of the Panel and was involved in the production of the report. The Panel seeks to enhance the use of relevant, high-quality evidence to support dialogue and guide policy choices by African governments and their partners.

In its foreword, the report observes that mechanisation in the African food and agriculture system needs rethinking and fresh strategies, and that governments must embrace the technological, policy and institutional innovation opportunities afforded by mechanisation.

The following recommendations to accelerate mechanisation along the agriculture value chain are proffered:

Elevate national agricultural mechanisation investment strategies to a top priority within countries’ national agriculture investment plans -Design mechanisation pathways in a way that they are socially sustainable

Prioritise mechanisation in every segment of the agriculture value chain, from production, through to post-harvest handling and processing -Increase investments in the development of supportive infrastructure and training facilities

Incentivise the private sector to take mechanisation to scale by creating a conducive business and services environment

Develop an African agricultural machinery industry that is context-specific through strong public-private partnerships

Empower smallholder farmers and women groups by involving them in the development of locally adapted machines and technologies

The full report can be accessed from https://www.