Agricultural Mechanization: Adoption Patterns and Economic Impact
Over the past half a century developing regions, with the exception of Sub-Saharan Africa, have seen labor-saving technologies adopted at unprecedented levels. Intensification of production systems created power bottlenecks around the land preparation, harvesting and threshing operations. Alleviating the power bottlenecks with the adoption of mechanical technologies helped enhance agricultural productivity and lowered the unit cost of crop production even in the densely populated countries of Asia. Economic growth and the commercialization of agricultural systems is leading to further mechanization of agricultural systems in Asia and Latin America. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to have very low levels of mechanization and available data indicate declining rather than increasing levels of adoption, even among the countries that were the early trendsetters, such as Kenya and Zimbabwe. This chapter documents the trends and sequential patterns in the adoption of mechanical technology, assesses the evidence on the productivity and equity impact of mechanization, and discusses the implication for mechanization policy.
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