| Animal-Drawn Wheeled Toolcarriers: Perfected yet Rejected |
This book did not start as a formal research study or a publication proposal. Rather it developed from a promise made to a colleague who was contemplating ordering wheeled toolcarriers for evaluation in a West African country. The promise was to contact professional colleagues and, by means of a "networking" approach, to track down information relating to the successful use of wheeled toolcarriers by farmers. The idea was that it would save much time and money if that country learned about existing experience before it started its own work. At that stage it was naturally assumed there were successful experiences to find. So started eighteen months of correspondence and literature review in the search of successful use of wheeled toolcarriers by farmers. It slowly became apparent that everyone contacted thought that these implements were indeed successful - but somewhere else! Therefore it seemed worthwhile to put all the detective work together so that people could learn from the obvious lessons. Following discussions with Eduardo Busquets of the German Appropriate Technology Exchange (GATE), GATE agreed to sponsor the preparation of this text, and their support is gratefully acknowledged.
A great deal of the information for this book was gathered through personal correspondence and discussions and the author would like to thank the very many people who readily responded to requests for facts, impressions, illustrations and comments on sections of the draft text. These include Akhil Agarwal, Alphonse Akou, N.K. Awadhwal, Mike Ayre, Mats Bartling, R.K. Bansal, Stewart Barton, Hans Binswanger, David Gibbon, Michael Goe, David Horspool, Diana Hunt, David Kemp, Andrew Ker, Wells Kumwenda, Bill Kinsey, Harbans Lal, J.S. Macfarlane, Peter Munzinger, Fadel Ndiame, Jean Nolle, M. von Oppen, John Peacock, Bart de Steenhuysen Piters, K.V. Ramanaiah, Franz Rauch, Eric Rempel, Marc Rodriguez, Gerald Robinson, Andrew Seager, Philip Serafini, Brian Sims, Alan Stokes, Gerald Thierstein, Gerard Le Thiec, David Tinker and. Dramane Zerbo. Some of these colleagues went to great trouble to assist in this work by finding and forwarding pertinent information, documents and illustrations, and searching for, or specially taking, relevant photographs. The major manufacturers were also most helpful and valuable information was provided by CEMAG, Geest Overseas Mechanization, Mekins Agro Products, Mouzon S.A. and SISMAR.
Further information was gathered during various consultancy missions and the support of the sponsoring organizations in both authorizing and facilitating this exchange of experience is gratefully acknowledged. Many of the recent details relating to India were obtained during a visit to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and particular thanks go to ICRISAT for providing many documents and illustrations. Experiences and opinions from several African countries were also obtained during consultancy assignments financed by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, and the Farming Systems Support Project (FSSP) of the University of Florida, and the support of these organizations is gratefully acknowledged. Special mention is also due to the Overseas Division of AFRC-Engineedog (fommerly NIAE) which has been helpful in providing photographs and commenting on the draft text.
Despite all the help received from many people, it seems inevitable that there will be some inaccuracies or errors in the text. For these the author has to be responsible himself and he apologizes in advance for any incorrect statements or impressions given. Should errors be noticed, the author would welcome factual corrections. He would also be happy to receive comments, observations and additional information on this topic. This would be particularly useful should any updated or translated edition be planned. Correspondence may be addressed to the author at the Centre for Agricultural Strategy, University of Reading, Earley Gate, Reading RG6 2AT, United Kingdom.
For those interested in the evolution of languages, it may be noted that, while standard English spellings have been used in this text, with each of two commonly used words draught/draft and plough/plow the simpler of the alternative spellings has been adopted. All four spellings have been used in the English language for several hundred years and there are both ancient and recent precedents for the shorter, simpler versions. Current North American standards arose from spellings in use in Britain two hundred years ago and there now seems little justification in English for maintaining the "ugh" spellings for these words. It would simplify terminology if international publications used one spelling, and so plow and draft have been adopted here.
Finally several colleagues warned that the subject of wheeled toolcarriers would be a difficult one to tackle, as those involved might be very sensitive to any implicit criticism of the various wheeled toolcarrier programmes. However, as should be apparent, there is absolutely no intention of censuring individuals, organizations or the toolcarrier concept itself. The objective has simply been to analyse experiences, good and bad, positive and negative, and to try to draw lessons from these. As noted in the conclusions, the question of "failure" will only arise if people do not make good use of "negative lessons". This is unlikely to be the case with wheeled toolcarrier technology as the majority of researchers and institutions involved with wheeled toolcarriers during the past thirty years have directly or indirectly assisted and contributed to this study. This has been most stimulating and it is hoped that this publication may be of value to its many contributors as well as others involved in planning and implementing development programmes.
April 1987, Reading, UK.