| Animal-Drawn Wheeled Toolcarriers: Perfected yet Rejected |
|3. Early Experience in Africa: 1955- 1975|
The first twenty years of work with wheeled toolcarriers in Africa had been dominated by two designs: Jean Nolle's Polyculteur and the NIAE's animal-drawn toolcarrier. Derivatives of Nolle's designs of wheeled toolcarrier had been promoted in Senegal and several hundred were used by farmers in the 1960s. However it was soon clear to both farmers and the authorities that lighter, cheaper and simpler implements were preferable. Small numbers of Polyculteurs and Tropiculteurs were tested in several African countries, but only in Madagascar and Uganda were they actively promoted. Here also the farmers opted for simpler implements even when they carried lower rates of subsidy. The NIAE toolcarrier had been designed in the U.K. and tested in at least eight African countries, but only in The Gambia was it actively promoted. Large numbers were imported and through credit and subsidies distributed to farmers. However utilization rates were always very low and it was concluded that simpler implements were more appropriate. Several other toolcarrier designs were produced by projects, universities and agricultural engineering units in several parts of Africa. Of two designs produced in Botswana, one was actively promoted, but rejected by farmers in favour of lighter, simpler implements.
In the first twenty years project initiatives had been mainly sponsored by the bilateral aid agencies of France and Britain, with technical support from their agricultural engineers from CEEMAT and NIAE. Experiences were beginning to form a clear pattern of enthusiastic promotion followed by unequivocal rejection in favour of lighter, cheaper and simpler implements. However before the trends emerging in this first phase are discussed it will be interesting to go on to look at the second main phase - the internationalization of wheeled toolcarrier research, development and promotion.