The animal traction system can be grouped into five components: the animals, the harness, the implement (plough, harrows, ridges, and carts), the operator and the soil or load.
Photo: Houssou et al.


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Although animal traction would be well-suited to cover parts of farm power demand in sub-Saharan Africa, the use of draft animals has been limited in the region. The authors demonstrate why this is the case in Ghana.

Agricultural development is invariably associated with adequate farm power supply. Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have experienced an increase in food demand in response to population growth, rural-urban migration and urbanisation. As result, there is a growing energy need in the agricultural sector in the sub-region. In 2003, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), only 35 per cent of farm power came from non-human power sources, indicating that there is a big potential for the use of mechanical farm power in the sub-region.

In response, agricultural mechanisation has re-emerged recently in many countries in SSA. Many African governments have made considerable efforts to meet the energy needs of the agricultural sector. In Ghana, for example, these efforts have largely focused on the provision of subsidised tractors to the farming population (see Houssou et al., 2013, p.1 and article "Sustainable mechanisation – a hard row to hoe").

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