| Animal-Drawn Wheeled Toolcarriers: Perfected yet Rejected |
|5. Recent Initiatives in Africa: 1976 1986|
Having considered the experiences of India and of ICRISAT, it will be useful for us to return to Africa and review recent initiatives. It may be recalled that in the 1960s large-scale promotion of wheeled toolcarriers had occurred in Senegal and The Gambia with smaller-scale promotion in Uganda and Botswana. Evaluation trials of early Polyculteur and NIAE designs had been carried out in several African countries including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, and Tanzania, generally with the direct involvement of British or French aid personnel.
In contrast to the period 1955 - 75, the last ten years have seen much more international involvement with wheeled toolcarrier programmes in Africa. The number of countries working with wheeled toolcarriers has increased greatly, and the internationalization of donor support can be illustrated by the fact that expatriate technical assistance staff working in this field in the last decade have included many funded by international centres and organizations such as ICRISAT, IDRC, ILCA, FAO, IFAD and the World Bank. In addition to the historical involvement of Britain and France, in the past ten years other bilateral programmes including those of Norway, Sweden, USA and West Germany have become involved in funding work in this field.
As will become apparent much of this renewed interest derives from ICRISAT's involvement in toolcarrier research, development and promotion. In West Africa some of the work with toolcarriers has actually been carried out under the auspices of ICRISAT in Mali and Niger. ILCA's evaluation of toolcarriers can be considered as having been derived from its CGIAR linkages with ICRISAT's. Workers in several countries have cited ICRISAT's encouraging work in this field as a major reason for their own involvement, and several programmes have requested technical drawings of toolcarriers from ICRISAT. However the phases of wheeled toolcarrier development being highlighted are merely an attempt at conveniently examining a continuum of numerous different activities. Thus, while the international "surge" of interest appears real, there has also been a consistent pattern of continued research, development and promotion by Jean Nolle in conjunction with French manufacturers and organisations. NIAE has also continued to be closely involved not only through its collaboration with ICRISAT in the development of the Nikart, but also through its links with British aid projects in several countries.