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close this bookAnimal Traction in Rainfed Agriculture in Africa and South America (GTZ, 1991, 311 p.)
close this folderC. General factors influencing the use of draft animals
View the document1. Underlying decision-making components in farm-household systems
View the document2. Natural endowment
View the document3. Conditions for agriculture and animal traction in rainfed cropping
View the document4. Dynamics of farming systems and mecanization
View the document5. Status of animal traction
View the document6. Constraints of animal traction

1. Underlying decision-making components in farm-household systems

Various explanations have been put forward for the gap between the technically feasible and the acceptance of technologies put into practice on smallholdings (Strubenhoff, 1988):

- Technology as such is a beneficial thing; the lack of a willingness to accept it must be sought out in the behaviour of the farmers.

- The general given institutional framework necessary for the introduction and dissemination of innovations, for example, extension services and credit facilities, are insufficient.

- The recommended technology does not correspond with the aims of the decision maker of the individual farm-household system.

If they are concerned about cost, yield and risk, farmers are -world wide - rationally thinking people, who undertake enterprising activities in calculated steps within their interactive areas. For observers it is often not obvious how efficiently this occurs (Schulz, 1980, according to Strubenhoff, 1988). Thus, a farm in the tropics and subtropics is a very complex system that concerns both the household as well as the individual operational areas. Economically speaking, both must be combined into one. From the point of view of the farmers there can be good reasons for not applying a technology which experts consider to be useful. It is therefore recommendable to assume that a technology previously not employed will not be adaptable to the special given local conditions of the respective farm-household system.

However, developments ensue, arising from climatic fluctuations, technical innovations or unpredictable agricultural policies, against which the rural population can obviously not react at an opportune moment. This is also the case within the transition to permanent rainfed cropping, as a consequence of rapid population growth. At this juncture the creation of a special infrastructure such as extension and credit services from the outside becomes indispensable. These measures should however only be offered the farmers as a possibility.

The first task during the initial phase of development or the introduction of a new technology (in this case animal traction) must therefore be to become acquainted with and to understand the aims and underlying decision-making components of the farmers -male or female. Since the cultivation of soil in rainfed systems depends in the first instance on environmental conditions, the natural endowment of the land plays a decisive role.