| Animal traction |
Animal traction farm technology can be adapted to meet the requirements of individual farmers. Nearly all manual tillage operations, such as hauling (by wagon), water-lifting, skidding (logging), and threshing, can employ animal power.
Animal traction can be used to complement ongoing manual operations or replace them entirely. Usually, mechanization of one operation requires mechanization of some others. In parts of Africa, for example, farmers plowing additional land using animals also have to mechanize weeding, because manual laborers don't have time to weed the extra crops. Harvesting and threshing, however, are done by hand because dry weather preserves crops, giving farmers time to complete these operations by hand.
As farmers increase productivity and earn capital, they are able to purchase more animals and equipment. Eventually, they may replace animal power with engine power.
But animal traction is not just for farmers who want to expand production. It is also for those who could or would farm if they did not have to do it by hand. While the logistics of financing equipment and technical assistance forces programs to concentrate on farmers who expand operations and stimulate markets, it should be clear that farmers who support themselves and their families contribute to the overall stability of national economies. The importance of this very fundamental view of animal traction economics becomes clearer as growing numbers of young people leave farms seeking an easier way of life in the cities. Animal traction technology can reverse this process by giving farmers tools that make their occupation secure and productive.