How to turn the wheels in agriculture

Mechanisation tackles many problems in agriculture – and is a priority issue of the Green Innovation Centres



By Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)


The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is a globally active provider of international cooperation for sustainable development. It has more than 50 years of experience in a wide range of fields.  

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The hoe is still one of the most important tools for farmers in the Global South. Yet this instrument fit for a museum remains a symbol for missed opportunities: Suitable mechanisation offers a way out of harvest losses, lower productivity, a high workload and lower further processing.


Farmers who do everything by hand often do not manage to stick to the agricultural calendar. As a result, farmland is not used to its full potential and agriculture remains an extremely uncertain endeavour. Machines, on the other hand, relieve the physical demands of the work and save valuable time. They increase productivity and product quality.


The Green Innovation Centers in the agricultural and food sector have therefore made mechanisation one of their priority issues. They develop appropriate measures across borders - from seed cleaning to further processing and transport, and work closely with farmers, local companies and representatives from politics, civil society and research.



The transnational task force for mechanisation is particularly active in ten of the 15 project countries. For example in Burkina Faso, a local company for seed cleaning is receiving support. And in Ethiopia, the local innovation centre is involved in setting up so-called Farm Service Centers, which offer a variety of services to small-scale farms – including mechanical cultivation of fields.


The experiences of European agriculture one hundred years ago have shown: Mechanisation boosts efficiency. It increases productivity, saves time and reduces harvest and post-harvest losses. This has a strong indirect impact on the major aims of agriculture in the future: First of all, food security increases as a result of the higher number of products. Selling products increases the income of small-scale farmers, which creates an upwards spiral towards agricultural development.


The topic of mechanisation is addressed by the innovation centres in almost all value chains. This future concept has great potential for development: “Mechanisation is one of the most important issues for us at the Green Innovation Centres in order to advance agriculture in Africa and to have truly modern agriculture. This should also be exciting and interesting for young people and, of course, for women too, as well as create perspectives and food security in Africa in the long term,” explains Ariane Borgstedt, head of the programme. “This is what we at the Green Innovation Centers stand for.”

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