UN agriculture agency turns critical eye on mechanization of agriculture

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Machinery's role in an environmentally sustainable future is one of the issues covered in the publication. FAO@PHOTO

The farm machinery of tomorrow will have to contribute to agriculture that is environmentally sustainable, according to a new book published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The book titled "Mechanization for rural development, a review of patterns and progress from around the world" explores the rise in the use of machinery in farmers' fields.

Josef Kienzle, an Agricultural Engineer at FAO and lead editor of the book says it was the drudgery in the last century that triggered the evolving of agricultural technology and mechanization in Europe and the Americas.

He suggests that designers of agricultural machinery should take into consideration that about 80 per cent of people involved in agriculture in the world are still small holder and family farmers.

"If we don't manage to have a sustainable mechanization strategy in place there is a big risk that specifically small holder farmers may not have access to the latest technology and machinery for agriculture and with that risk we may continue in this ongoing vicious cycle of rural youths leaving the farms and migrating to the urban places to look for jobs that may not be there. So that's a big risk actually." (24")

Mr. Kienzle says it's important for FAO to help the governments to create an enabling environment for sustainable agricultural policies.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

Duration: 1'36"

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