Small Farms Benefit for Big Companies

How Zambia’s Small Farms Benefit from Big Companies Initiative to Promote Mechanization

The population density of Zambia is among the lowest in all of Sub-Saharan Africa. Tractors and other forms of farm implements, as well as combine harvesters, are very hard to come by in Zambia. Almost no farmers really employ agricultural machinery on their farms. Widespread poverty in rural areas is a direct outcome of the country’s failure to fully capitalize on its agricultural potential. Recent years have seen a rise in the use of agricultural machinery in Zambia, as they have in many other African nations. AgriTech Expo Zambia is a significant trade exhibition for agricultural machinery, and in 2011 the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock established a Tractor Mechanization Fund in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Zambian National Farmers Union.

Effect on income

Small farm holders who invested in farm implements and tractor services had almost doubled their average revenue because they were able to cultivate twice as much of their property. The availability of appropriate agricultural machinery also contributed significantly to the rise in worker output. Considering the worries about poor worker productivity in Zambian agriculture, this is an anticipated gain that is nevertheless significant. There is a need for additional study into the characteristics that encourage tractor owners to provide their services to smallholder farmers.

Social Benefits

Farmers on tiny plots of land who used agricultural machineries, such as farm implements and tractor services, saw a rise in their incomes. Although a rise in money has been shown to have positive effects on well-being, the extent to which it really leads to changes in living conditions like better nutrition and education varies from family to household and is not unrelated to the means by which income is generated. The surplus funds were invested in the future of the next generation by funding their education and ensuring their food supply. Importantly, they spent more money on food and were less likely to miss meals, both of which are significant findings given the widespread malnutrition in Zambia. Some farmers were able to save enough money to open up shops in neighboring towns, where they dealt with cattle or sold food.

More farm input and land productivity

Farmers that invest in agricultural machinery and farm implements also tend to spend more money on other farming necessities, such as fertilizer. Better land preparation (which decreases weed pressure) and more timely land preparation may be to blame for the decrease in yield risks and the increase in readiness to spend on complementary inputs. However, because practically all of their land is now under cultivation, the finding that tractor users need more fertilizer may also reflect the fact that they can no longer fallow ground to restore fertility. This might also explain why net revenue per hectare is stagnating. Agricultural machinery and Tractor service use was also linked to more herbicide application. It is possible that CFU’s advocacy for pesticide usage with the spread of conservation farming is to blame. Due to the larger cultivated area, there may have been a scarcity of available workers during the critical weeding period.

Policy Implications

This provides strong evidence that efforts to boost agricultural incomes via private sector initiatives to encourage smallholder mechanization in Zambia may have a significant impact. For this reason, it will be necessary to shift emphasis away from encouraging land development in favor of a greater emphasis on employing agricultural machinery to boost land productivity. As a result, it is suggested that support be provided to help smallholders raise their incomes per hectare. Getting there will involve coordinating many teams. No one should expect agricultural machinery manufacturers or dealers to shoulder the responsibility of providing agricultural extension services to a significant number of smallholder farmers. To do this, more parties, such as government extension services, will need to contribute. Tractors Zambia, being one of the leading tractor dealers in Zambia, should play a crucial part in this effort. Look no further for a supplier of quality Massey Ferguson tractors, New Holland tractors, farm implements or Kubota combine harvesters in Zambia. Because of their high-quality, highly automated agricultural machinery and cutting-edge technology, Tractors Zambia has become the top tractor and agricultural machinery supplier in Zambia. The mission of Tractors Zambia is to improve crop yields in Zambia by bringing in state-of-the-art agricultural machinery from Pakistan. To learn more, talk to a sales rep at Tractors Zambia right now.

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