| Animal-Drawn Wheeled Toolcarriers: Perfected yet Rejected |
|8. Implications, Lessons and Conclusions|
The review of wheeled toolcarrier projects over the past thirty years reveals the following points in common:
- All initiatives have been characterized much early enthusiasm for the design.
- All designs have been subsequently modified and refined.
- All modified designs have been proven capable of work on station.
- Designs with a high degree of versatility have been found complex by farmers and expensive and/or difficult to manufacture accurately, and there has been a tendency to simplify designs with time.
- All designs have been described by farmers as being heavy for the animals to pull, and they had therefore been used with fewer than expected implements, or with multiple pairs of animals.
- Despite the potential for conversion from toolcarrier to cart, farmers have generally kept to one mode, and after one to three seasons as a cultivation implement, almost all toolcarriers have been used only as carts.
- Despite optimistic forecasts based on on-station use, it has never been shown that farmers themselves have found that the benefits of toolcarriers justify their high costs.
- No wheeled toolcarrier has yet been proven by sustained farmer adoption in any developing country.
About 10000 wheeled toolcarriers have been made, but few of these were paid for at a realistic price by farmers. The number of toolcarriers of any design that have ever remained in use by farmers as multipurpose implements for at least five years is negligible. Research, development and promotional activities are now continuing in at least twenty countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Most on-going activities have been started because the national programmes or aid agencies believed that wheeled toolcarrier technology had succeeded somewhere else. To date it has not succeeded and there seems little evidence to justify any optimism for the technology. Prospects for present programmes in Africa and Asia seem very bleak and in general the outlook for wheeled toolcarriers is not bright.