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close this bookAnimal Traction in Rainfed Agriculture in Africa and South America (GTZ, 1991, 311 p.)
View the documentShort Introduction
View the documentA. Preface
close this folderB. Introduction
View the document1. Preliminary remarks
View the document2. Procedure and methodology
View the document3. About the authors
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
close this folderD. Features of draft animal husbandry
View the document1. Selection of animals
View the document2. Procurement of draft animals
View the document3. Feeding of draft animals
View the document4. Methods of keeping draft animals
View the document5. Training and utilization of draft animals
close this folderE. Aspects of implement use
View the document1. Labour productivity and distribution
View the document2. General features of the implements
View the document3. Field preparation
View the document4. Soil preparation
View the document5. Implements for soil preparation
View the document6. Seeding
View the document7. Weed control
close this folderF. Case studies: West Africa:
View the document1. Overview
View the document2. Case study: Togo
View the document3. Case study: Senegal
close this folderG. Case study: Brazil
View the document1. Overview
View the document2. Case study: ParanĂ¡
close this folderH. Summary and conclusions
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAbreviations
View the documentReferences

6. Constraints of animal traction

The limiting factors of draft-animal mechanization can be sub-divided according to the degree of manipulation and/or in terms of their dynamics within a given time sequence:

1 - Non variable factors arising in the first instance from the natural endowment (climate, soils, topography).

2 - Long-to medium-term variable endowment factors such as farming systems or land-use intensity, which possess a certain internal dynamics, e.g. triggered by population growth or increased product demand (see section C 4.1). Direct possibilities of influencing the promotion of animal traction do not have any or are of secondary importance. In the framework of such changes the limiting effects of disadvantageous natural endowment factors for draft-animal mechanization could be eliminated by amelioration measures such as clearance, terracing, contour cropping or irrigation.

3 - Short-term variable factors: primarily the problems of draft-animal use fall in this category, resulting from poor infrastructure, specifically transportation and communications systems, marketing conditions, credit systems, training and extension services for farmers and artisans, material supplies (animals, spare parts, raw materials) veterinary services, etc. Here, direct action could be taken to promote animal traction, assuming that conditions are appropriate for draft-animal mechanization in regard to the above-mentioned less manipulatable limitation factors.

According to Pingali et al. (1987) the tasks of promotion facilities of draft-animal mechanization lie clearly in the recognition and elimination of these short-term limiting factors.

In our survey the respondents were able to select the following answers under the section "constraints of animal traction" (see questionnaire in annex I, point 4): unpopularity of draft-animal mechanization, lack of draft animals, high prices for animals, animal diseases, soil characteristics and unsuitable cropping system. Multiple selection was possible; also, space for further comments was provided. In additional questions on the nutritional condition of the animals as well as the possibilities of repair and maintenance of the implements were included. The results of the various aspects are depicted in figure C 20./ Table

It is evident that limiting factors are more prevalent in the area of infrastructure, while less importance is attached to problems that have no immediate short-term solution, as for example unsuitable cropping system or poor soil conditions for animal traction. This is also understandable, since a certain compatibility with the latter for an effective use of draft animals is frequently an absolute precondition for access to the introduction of draft-animal mechanization at a specific location with rainfed cropping. In that development organizations and institutions initiate projects to introduce draft animals in regions that do not show or have not yet proven compatibility in regard to the local given conditions, these problems have often arisen within the framework of the projects and therefore are not recognized or are simply ignored.

Figure C20: Table: Constraints of animal traction (Number of Instances in % followed by the Constraint type):

58% Feeding
58% Animal price
41% Disease
36% Repairs
35% Lack of animals
19% Cropiing system
18% Unpopularity
17% Soils
27% Others

Thus, of the 15 regions, in which the cropping system is mentioned as a constraint for animal traction, over half are located in a humid or subhumid climatic zone (Tanzania, Benin, Togo, Cameroon, Brazil) primary crops mentioned are those considered unsuitable to draft-animal mechanization (tubers, perennials). In another case in the semiarid climatic zone of Niger the use of draft animals for seedbed preparation is limited by the short vegetation period. In the majority of all these regions having suitable cropping systems draft animals, if they at all become widespread, are primarily employed for transportation purposes.

One of the least mentioned problems for animal traction was unsuitable soil conditions (17 %). Interestingly, of these, 85 % (11 of 13 cases) are in regions in Latin America (Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Dominican Republic). Nevertheless, animal traction possesses a certain tradition in all these regions with one exception and is in part widely found. Here, the poor soil conditions have not led to the exclusion of draft-animal mechanization. Due to the hilly and very steep topography (with one exception) and the partially existing heavy soil it is a question of implements and cropping techniques, in finding an appropriate solution for the long-term soil cultivation for this location. Obstacles in the fields, such as stones, like in the highlands of Peru, and as a result unadapted tillage methods, finally causing erosion gullies, were mentioned.

For 18 % of the respondents (14 instances) the unpopularity of animal traction was suggested as a limiting factor, whereby in 11 cases harnessing of animals was not part of the tradition in the region, and for half the distribution in the region is relatively low, with less than 5 % of the farms. In the majority of cases it already stood in competition with motor mechanization; at least 5 % of the agricultural work was already being done by tractor (in 3 cases more than 20 %). Unpopularity as such does not suffice as an explanation for the limitation of animal traction in a region. It is rather based upon influencing factors caused by local conditions, often the natural endowment.

Furthermore, favouring motor mechanization can lead to a degrading of animal traction to a "backward technology". For example, after World War II the ntroduction of tractors in West Africa was one of the chief limiting factors of draft-animal use (Pingali et al., 1987).

Other constraints not listed in the questionnaire were given by 27 % (21 responses) of the respondents. The most significant in order of importance are: lack of know-how of the farmers (5 instances), unadapted draft-animal implements (4 instances), theft of draft animals and increasing rural exodus (both 2 instances).

The most often mentioned constraints in the survey, purchase of teams of animals, the keeping and foddering of draft animals and the maintenance and repair of the implements belong, as already mentioned, to the short-term variable limiting factors. The first three constrains are now dealt with in more detail in the following chapter.