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New farm input manual launched for rural areas

Mwangi Mumero

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) ,has launched a new training manual that provides practical guidance for agricultural mechanisation in rural areas.

In rural areas, especially in Africa, lack of capital has hampered farm mechanisation affecting crop production and food security.

The five-module training manual sets out a syllabus which allows trainers to tailor environments to equip entrepreneurs with essential skills and knowledge to promote mechanisation.

Developed by researchers and experts at FAO and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), it targets farm mechanization service providers.

“To increase the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of their farms, family farmers need greater access to affordable yield-enhancing inputs. Farm machinery service providers can improve access to mechanisation that reduces labour drudgery and promotes sustainable intensification practices,” observed Josef Kienzle, Agricultural Engineer at FAO. Sustainable intensification seeks to produce more, improve nutrition and livelihoods, and boost rural incomes without an increase in inputs – such as land and water – thus reducing environmental impacts.

In rural Africa, degraded soils, low input use and poor farming techniques have led to stagnation of yields in most crops- requiring s shift in adapting mechanisation as a form of boosting productivity.

The manual will be initially distributed and courses organised through FAO and CIMMYT field projects in sub-Saharan Africa utilising local trainers and experts in machinery and agribusiness, he said.

The manual is expected to be rolled out to other sub-regional offices and hubs in the future.