importance of Agricultural Mechanization. Meaning of Mechanization, agricultural mechanization. Mechanization is concerned with the use of machines in farm work.
The primary goal of agricultural mechanization is to increase agricultural production, reduce labour requirements, improve the quality of work, and enhance overall farm efficiency. It plays a crucial role in addressing the challenges of modern agriculture, such as the need to feed a growing global population, optimize resource utilization, and mitigate the environmental impact of farming practices.
Here are some key aspects and examples of agricultural mechanization:
Farm Machinery: The use of various types of machinery is a fundamental aspect of agricultural mechanization. Tractors, combines, harvesters, planters, seeders, sprayers, and irrigation systems are examples of machinery commonly used in modern farming.
These machines help automate tasks such as ploughing, planting, harvesting, and irrigation, reducing the reliance on manual labour and increasing operational efficiency.
Precision Agriculture: Agricultural mechanization is closely linked with precision agriculture, which involves the use of advanced technologies such as GPS, sensors, drones, and data analytics to optimize farming practices.
These technologies enable farmers to gather real-time data on soil conditions, crop health, and weather patterns, allowing them to make informed decisions about irrigation, fertilization, and pest management.
Precision agriculture maximizes resource efficiency and minimizes input wastage, resulting in improved yields and reduced environmental impact.
Post-Harvest Handling: Agricultural mechanization also extends to post-harvest activities, including processing, sorting, grading, packaging, and storage of agricultural produce.
Machinery like grain dryers, fruit sorting machines, packing equipment, and cold storage facilities help streamline these processes, reducing losses due to spoilage, enhancing product quality, and extending shelf life.
importance of Agricultural Mechanization
In Nigeria or any other country farm work is carried out using simple farm implements.
For example, clearing of land is done with the cutlass, digging of the land with hoe and, planting with cutlass and trowel.
importance of mechanized farming
The introduction of machines into farming has enabled, for instance, land clearing to. be carried out more easily with the bulldozer.
Digging of the land before seeds are planted can now be done with either the disc or mouldboard plough. Different machines called planters are now available to plant different crops.
Advantages of agricultural mechanization
(a) It removes the difficulty in farming. Farm work is considered by people to be very hard. The use of machines, therefore, makes farming enjoyable.
(b) Large areas of farmland can be prepared within a very short time. This means that mechanization saves time.
(c) It allows the farmer to perform some difficult jobs easily; for example, the felling of trees is easily done with the motor saw instead of the axe and cutlass.
(d) Mechanization saves labour. Very few labourers are required when machines are employed on the farm.
(e) It increases farm productivity because of the large scope of operation. Increased productivity leads to higher farm income and standard of living. (
f) The cost of using machines on the farm is cheaper in the long run compared with the cost of farm-labour which is always rising
(g) It prevents bad agricultural practices such as the complete burning all vegetation on new farmland. In addition, large areas of farmland can still be cultivated by the farmer during one cropping season
(h) It enables the farmers to use surplus farm products profitably, For example, the crop dryer allows quick and easy drying of crop products such as rice, maize, sorghum and wheat.
Crop products can be processed into different products, more acceptable to consumers. In addition, surplus perishable products such as tomatoes, vegetables, milk and meat can be stored for a long time using the refrigerator for cold storage.
(i) The use of machines in farming may attract young and educated persons to take up farming as an occupation.
(j) The mechanization of farming may release some workers formerly engaged in farming to take up jobs in Agro-allied industries in urban centres.
Disadvantages of mechanization
Disadvantages of farm mechanization
(a) Many of the farm- workers will be jobless.
With the use of machines, the work that can be done by many workers is carried out by very few farmhands.
The others need to be retained before they can fit into new jobs.
(b) The use of heavy machines. such as bulldozers and tractors destroying soil structures. This may result in soil erosion caused by water.
(c) The environment is polluted because of the use of machines. The exhaust from motor vehicles and scraps from machines
result in environmental pollution
(d) The use of heavy machines leads to soil compaction. The continuous use of tillage implements results in the development of a hard soil layer below the soil surface. This reduces water inhiliation in the soil as well as crops roots penetration.
(e) Mechanization has direct production to those crops that are mechanized such as rice, maize, and a few others.
The production of crops such as coco-yam and yam that are not easily produced with the aid of machines is therefore declining yearly.
(f) Machinery requires large capital investment. Only farmers that have enough money will be able to acquire machines.
(g) The use of machines in farming requires an adequate and continuous supply of energy from fuel and electricity. Problems will arise if the supply is not enough, or is lacking.
Problems of farm mechanization in Nigeria
(a) Farm holdings are very small: farm mechanization is only suitable for large farm holdings.
(b) Most of the farmers are poor. Tractors and other farm machines are costly and many farmers cannot buy them.
(c) Nigerian soils contain large tree stumps, roots and stones. These break down farm machines and render them useless.
Also, the presence of small hills, pits and moats makes the land rugged and unsuitable for machines.
(d) There is a lack of adequate facilities for the maintenance of farm machines. The result is that machines can be rendered useless because of minor faults.
(e) The people that have skills — read more on skilled labour— to operate the tractor and other farm machines. Many farmers do not have the money to employ those that are trained in the use of farm machines.
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