Meaning of Mechanisation
Mechanization is concerned with the use of machines in farm work.
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.
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 farm mechanisation
(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 farm Ind can be prepared within very short time. This means that mechanization saves time.
(d) Mechanization saves labour. Very few labourers are required when machines are employed on the farm.
(e) It increases farm productivity because of large cope 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 that is always rising
(g) It prevents bad agricultural practices such as complete burning all vegetation on new farmland. In addition, large areas of farm land 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 product such as rice, maize, sorghum and wheat.
Crop product 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.
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 be carried out by very few farm hands.
The others need to be retained before they can fit into new jobs.
(c) The environment is polluted because of the use of machines. The exhaust from motor-vehicles and scraps from machines and Blirinenls 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 hard soil layer below the soil surface. This reduces water inhiliation in the soil as well as crops roots penetration.
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 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 with large farm holdings.
(b) Most of the farmers 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 breakdown 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 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 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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