Agricultural Mechanization is the application of engineering principles and technology in agricultural production, storage and processing on the farm.
It involves the development and use of machines that can take the place of human and animal power in agricultural processes.
CHALLENGES OF AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION IN NIGERIA.
ADVANTAGES OF AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION
Farm mechanization has the following advantages:
(i) Timeliness of operation: Farm mechanization ensures that all farm Operations are done and completed within a short period of time.
(ii) It saves labor: In farm mechanization, most human efforts are substituted with machines. Hence, labor saved could be employed elsewhere.
(iii) It reduces health hazards: Farm mechanization reduces health hazards. These include those posed by knives, hoe, stumps, pest, etc.
(iv) It reduces drudgery: Farm mechanization makes it easy to avoid unpleasant manual jobs.
(v) Increase in farm revenue: As a result of mechanization, farmers become richer due to high yield.
(vi) It encourages large scale farming: Farmers are capable of working on large farms and, hence, reap heavy harvest.
(vii) Increase in output: Mechanization makes it possible for farmers to have increase in output (production, harvest or yield).
(viii) It promotes specialization of labor: Farm mechanization enables people to become specialised in certain operations within the farm.
(ix) Co-operation among farmers: Mechanization enables many farmers to come together and pool their resources together, thereby promoting or encouraging cooperation among farmers.
(x) It saves time: Mechanization translates quickly the products of man’s brain into reality.
(xi) Reduction in cost of operation: Mechanization leads to reduction in the cost of agricultural operation per unit output.
DISADVANTAGES OF AGRICULTURAL MECHANISATION
Farm mechanization has the following disadvantages:
(i) High cost: Farm mechanization, due to the numerous machines involved usually expensive to operate.
(ii) Displacement of workers: In farm mechanization, very few workers are required; hence, many people will be out of job when mechanization is introduced.
(iii) Compaction of soil: Mechanization leads to compaction of soil due to the movement of heavy machines.
(iv) It causes environmental pollution: Mechanization causes environmental pollution due to smokes emanating from machines, chemicals and fertilizer usage.
(v) Degradation of landscape: Mechanization ensures the degradation of landscape as a result of continuous excavation. .
(vi) Land tenure system: Land tenure system may hinder efficient use of tractors due to small holdings of farmlands.
(vii) Destruction of soil structure: The soil structure can easily be destroyed due to continuous movements and usage of machines.
(viii) Redundancy of farm labor: With farm machines working on the farm, the work can easily be completed and this situation can create redundancy in farm labour.
(ix) Few crops can be mechanized: Very few crops like maize, rice, guinea corn, millet, etc. can easily be mechanized.
(x) Inadequate technical know-how: There is always inadequate technical know-how on the use and handling of the farm machines and equipment.