Jelle Van Loon, Frédéric Baudron and Timothy Krupnik (f.l.t.r.)

15.06.2015

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What is mechanisation like in different world regions? Which challenges do farmers face in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia? Jelle Van Loon, Frédéric Baudron and Timothy Krupnik, working for the Global Conservation Programme, headed by Bruno Gérard, at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), give accounts of their experiences.

Rural 21: Jelle, Frédéric and Timothy, you work in very different regions throughout the world. What is the level of agricultural mechanisation like in these regions, and what impact does it have on day-to-day farm work?

Jelle Van Loon: Mechanisation levels vary a lot within Mexican borders. In rough terms, the northern states are dominated by big farms with highly advanced machinery and irrigation systems; moving southwards, this gradually changes and turns into subsistence farming with traditional hand tools in the most southern states. In between, there is a mosaic of medium-sized farmers using small four-wheel tractors and smallholder farmers using animal-drawn tools or working with hand planters. Large farmers look for high-precision tools for large fields, while medium and smallholder farmers are stuck between the choice of investing in machines or hiring services. Service providers to medium and smallholder farmers usually lack modern equipment, and so those farmers have limited access to appropriate services.

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