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Pros and Cons of Agricultural Mechanization in the Third World

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Abstract

There is much that needs modernizing in traditional agricultural practices of the Third World. In some countries relatively simple changes, such as the substitution of metal implements for wooden hoes and plows, or the use of rubber tires on wheelbarrows and carts, may make a great difference. There are many areas where more efficient drainage of wet soils and/or irrigation of dry soils, better weed control, more use of improved varieties and fertilizers, different crop rotations, and erosion-control practices would significantly improve crop production and farmer welfare. Included in the vast array of possible modernizing techniques is the increased use of mechanical means (as contrasted with human and animal power) to work the soil, plant seeds, harvest crops, irrigate fields, etc. While the mechanization of agricultural production has tremendous possibilities, it also contains pitfalls. This article will explore what mechanization does and how it influences the soil, crop, farmer, and society. This article can also be found at the Monthly Review website, where most recent articles are published in full. Click here to purchase a PDF version of this article at the Monthly Review website.
PROS AND CONS OF AGRICULTURAL
MECHANIZATION IN THE THIRD WORLD
BY FRED
MAG DOFF
There ismuch that needs modernizing in traditional agri-
cultural practices of the Third World. In some countries rela-
tively simple changes, such as the substitution of metal imple-
ments for wooden hoes and plows, or the use of rubber tires on
wheelbarrows and carts, may make a great difference. There
are many areas where more efficient drainage of wet soils
and/orirrigation of dry soils, better weed control, more use of
improved varieties and fertilizers, different crop rotations, and
erosion-control practices would significantly improve crop
production and farmer welfare. Included in the vast array of
possible modernizing techniques is the increased use of
mechanical means (as contrasted with human and animal
power) to work the soil, plant seeds, harvest crops, irrigate
fields, etc. While the mechanization of agricultural production
has tremendous possibilities, it also contains pitfalls. This
article will explore what mechanization does and how it influ-
ences the soil, crop, farmer, and society.
Governments of developing countries frequently view
mechanization of agricultural production as a very important
and progressive goaL China has begun a major effort to
mechanize agriculture. A 1979editorial in
Remin Ribao
states:
It is China's new policy to concentrate on accelerating the
mechanization and modernization of its agriculture. As China's
Fred Magdoff is professor of soil science at the University of Vermont.
33
34 MONTHLY REVIEW IMAY 1982
industrial foundation isstill weak, the limited funds and materials we
have must be used in a well organized and well planned way to ensure
that farm production isequipped with complete sets of sophisticated
machines that are cheaply manufactured and can stand wear and
tear.
Third World governments have various reasons for follow-
ing this course. Sometimes there is a desire to lessen the drudg-
ery of rural life. Many agricultural tasks in a peasant economy
are repetitive, boring, and physically taxing. Freeing rural
labor for other jobs in industry is sometimes part of the attrac-
tion of agricultural mechanization. Even more important, it is
commonly believed that mechanization is one of the important
ways to expand agricultural production. For example, the
Mexican government's announcement of the importation of
5,000 tractors in 1979-1980implied that mechanization would
increase agricultural productivity, the food supply, and farmer
incomes. But the belief that mechanization must necessarily
lead to a greater food supply and improved farmer welfare is,
in my opinion, erroneous.
The drive toward changes in agricultural methods in the
Third World is stimulated by "powerful forces that are
pressing for mechanization of all kinds. Large farmers, foreign
and domestic industrialists, politicians, and even aid agencies
have vested interests in promoting various implements, in:
eluding tractors.
"I
While agricultural mechanization involves
many different types of equipment (see below), the tractor has
become a symbolof the process for the industrialized aswell as
the developing countries. This attitude, combined with the in-
fluence of the agricultural machinery companies, has created a
situation in which credits tend to be made readily available,
especially for tractors. For example, from 1966 to 1973 the
Philippines Rural Banking Systemreceived $33.5 million from
the World Bank to finance tractor imports. In the early 1970s,
the World Bank also made credits of $27.5 million available
for importing 8,000 tractors into the Indian Punjab, and $30
million to support tractor imports to Pakistan. Socialist coun-
tries have not escaped the tractor (or other large-machine)
fetish. During the early formative stage of the Soviet Union's
agricultural development (the late 1920s) "Every question of
THIRD WORLD AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION 35
the supply of machines and implements to the countryside
was... soon overshadowed by the tractor; 'the tractorization of
agriculture' became the symbol of modem techniques and
increased productivity.
"2
Overemphasis on agricultural mechanization and the
belief that it is a necessary part of increasing agricultural
production are probably due to two major factors. First, the
United States has been widely viewed around the world as an
example of successful agricultural development. It produces
more than enough food to feed its people (even though many
poor people cannot afford a proper diet). And since mechani-
zation (tractors, implements, etc.) issuch a conspicuous part of
the American agricultural scene, it is assumed by many that
mechanization is "progressive" and an integral part of yield
increases. Second, the issues involved in understanding
mechanization are complex and include looking at the topic
from various vantage points.
Some of the problems involved in understanding mech-
anizationarise from the following considerations:
(1) It frequently involves changing production methods at
different stages (plowing and seedbed preparation, weed and
insect control, irrigation, planting and fertilizer application,
harvest and post-harvest handling).
(2) There are different types of equipment available. Some
are low-cost and are appropriate .for use in small-scale agri-
culture as well as on larger units. However, some machinery
can be used only for large-scale agriculture.
(3) Mechanization of agricultural techniques may in some
cases increase crop yields per unit area (lbs/ acre or kg/hec-
tare), but in other situations it may either have no effect or
actually decrease crop yields.
(4) The social effects of mechanization may be very positive
(when labor is scarce or must be freed from rural areas to
provide an industrial labor force)
or
negative (when it displaces
rural labor and there are insufficient alternative employment
opportuni ties).
There are two completely different questions that must be
kept in mind when discussing agricultural mechanization:
What is the effect on output (a) per worker, and
(b)
per acre
36 MONTHLY REVIEW
I
MAY 1982
acre (hectare)? Discussing these issues as well as others (energy
use, rural organization, etc.) should help to illuminate some of
the complexities of the issuesinvolved.
Output Per Worker
There is little doubt that the main impetus historically
driving the mechanization of agriculture, as had been the case
with the mechanization of industry, was the desire to produce
more with fewer workers. In fact, mechanization may be
defined as the substitution of machine power for animal or
human power. In the capitalist countries, this came about
through the workings of the marketplace when labor waseither
unavailable or relatively high-priced. In some instances, the
introduction of harvesting equipment in the United States (for
cotton and tomatoes, for example) can be traced to the at-
tempts of workers to obtain higher wages or to the loss of an
assured low-cost labor supply when the import of Mexican
workers (the "bracero program") was terminated. In the social-
ist countries, mechanization has been adopted as a conscious
policy. Before the revolution in Cuba, the need for a verylarge
labor force to harvest sugar cane caused the development of a
work force that was idle for most of the year but available for
the three to four month harvest period. After the 1959 revolu-
tion when full year-round employment was established as a
priority, the mobilization of already employed workers to
harvest the cane became a tremendous burden on the society.
Mechanization of the harvest then developed into an important
national goal.
Whatever the stimulus, the results are clear. Mechaniza-
tion causes a dramatic increase in the output per worker, and
less labor is needed in farming. For example, the average
amount of farm labor needed to grow an acre of corn in the
United States has decreased from about 25 hours in 1940-1944
to 5 hours in 1970. Perhaps the most dramatic decline has been
for cotton harvesting where labor declined from 53 to 3 hours
per acre between 1940-1944and 1970.
Two of the consequences of such introduction of mechani-
zation are (a) displacement of a portion of the rural work force
and their migration to the cities, and (b) the development of
THIRD WORLD AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION 37
larger farm units. When this happens without planning (in a
capitalist society) and there is no increase in other jobs
sufficient to absorb displaced rural workers, misery can be the
only result. Many factors were involved in the massive, post-
Second World War black migration from the rural south into
the urban areas of the south, midwest, and the northeast.
One of the most important was mechanization of agriculture
(especially the cotton crop) which thus aided and abetted the
creation of the black urban ghetto and the apparently hopeless
situation of its inhabitants. Black and Hispanic workers were
alsodisplaced by the mechanical tomato harvester. It has been
estimated that by 1973, nineteen million work hours were elim-
inated annually by this one machine.
In the Punjab area of Pakistan, 82 percent of tenants
working-land where owners purchased tractors were evicted,
since their labor was no long-erneeded. More farmers were
evicted when tractor owners rented additional land. In Sri
Lanka, tractor introduction was responsible for a "significant
redistribution of land, income, and wealth." Farmers
purchasing tractors doubled their cultivated rice land.
Increased output per worker does not usually cause an
increase in national food production. If crop yields (output per
acre or hectare) are not increased, more land must be brought
into agricultural production to boost food production. On the
other hand, it is true that more land may be available for
human
food production since less animal feed is needed when
machines replace animal power.
Output Per Hectare (Crop Yields)
There are some special situations where mechanization
may increase output per hectare. For example, mechanical
power may be the only way'to break up a subsoil layer that
restricts air, water, and root penetration. In addition, on
certain soilsmodern implements may produce a better seedbed
than traditional implements and thereby promote a higher
percent of germinating seeds and healthier seedlings. Per-
forming agricultural operations on time is of critical impor-
tance to high crop yields. Better "timeliness" has often been
cited as one advantage of mechanization. However, if human
38 MONTHLY REVIEW
I
MAY 1982
and animal labor is plentiful, performance of agronomic prac-
tices may still be timely without mechanization. In fact, there
are some situations in which timeliness is enhanced by low
levels of mechanization. For example, plowing or harvesting a
crop on a wet soil may be done by human and animal power
when large machines would get bogged down and/or' cause
severe damage to soil structure.
On the other hand, there are numerous negative influences
of mechanization on yields. Use of heavy machinery may cause
soil compaction under the wheels and the development of a
thin, dense subsoil layer at the depth of the plow (plow pan)
which restricts water infiltration and root development. Use of
very large tractors and implements makes it difficult for farm-
ers to follow proper conservation techniques such as strip crop-
ping or terracing. This causes more soil erosion, and the loss of
topsoil results in a deterioration of soil fertility. Purchase of
large specialized equipment for use on only one crop encour-
ages monoculture rather than diversified crop production.
This may increase disease and insect problems as well as soil
erosion.
Mechanization of harvesting in the United States is
estimated to leave 15percent of the corn crop and 9 percent of
the soybean crop in the field. These remains could have been
harvested by hand. Removal of stones from some soils in Maine
and New Brunswick (Canada) is necessary to allow for
mechanization of the potato harvest. However, this results in
lower potato yields due to increased compaction and soil
erosion which cause lower soil temperature and water content.
In many cases, machinery may substitute for human or
animal power without a positive or negative influence on yield.
Studies in the Pakistan and Indian Punjab, as well as in the
Philippines, indicate that there is no significant difference in
yields due to use of tractors. Although some studies have in-
dicated a yield increase with tractor use, when other factors
(such as new varieties, fertilizers, and herbicides) are taken into
account, there appears to be no yield increase due to tractors
alone.
A study of 19 villages in the Indian Punjab indicated that
compared to farms with tractors, those relying on human and
THIRD WORLD AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION 39
animal power were smaller (11 vs. 25 acres), used more animal
power per acre (357 percent more), and used more human
labor per acre (50 percent more). However, wheat yields were
virtually identical (2.29 vs.2.26 metric tons per hectare for non-
tractor and tractor farms respectively).
An interesting comparison also exists in the United States.
A study in central Pennsylvania found that the Amish (who for
religious and cultural reasons generally use stationary motors,
but not tractors or c;:ombines)did as well as their more highly
mechanized neighbors. "The yields per hectare," according to
the authors, "for the two forms of agriculture are much the
same, with Amish yields 4 percent higher."
There is also indirect evidence that mechanization by
itself has little effect on crop yields. In a study comparing 43
countries, those with the higher agricultural production per
hectare tended to have relatively low levels of machine use (or
smaller tractors or other machines). The countries with high
tractor horsepower (United States, Canada, New Zealand,
Australia) tended to have lower yields than countries with more
labor-intensive practices. Yields per hectare tended to be
positivelycorrelated with fertilizer use.
(1)
Energy Use, Efficiency, and Mechanization.
Machines
are produced only through the expenditure of various types of
energy to mine and process raw materials, produce synthetic
materials, make parts, and assemble finished products. The
energy used is mainly in the form of fossil fuels (gas, oil, coal),
although human labor is also expended. In addition, energy
(petroleum or electricity generated from an energy source) is
necessary (or the machines to work. Thus, while the input of
human and animal work (or energy) is decreased by agricul-
tural mechanization, plenty of energy is used to manufacture
and operate machines.
Using machines that require fuel for manufacturing and
operation means that agriculture becomes closely tied to the
availability and price of petroleum products. While other agri-
cultural inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides are also very
costly in energy terms, their proper use can routinely increase
crop yields.
40
MONTHLY REVIEW IMAY 1982
Another energy-related issue is the influence of mechani-
zation on
efficiency
of converting energy into food. This is a
very complex subject which cannot be dealt with in depth in
this article. It is possible to convert any type of energy
.expended for work to a common unit. A commonly used way of
expressing energy is the calorie, which is the amount of energy
needed to raise the temperature of a gram of water by one
degree centigrade. One thousand calories are referred to as one
kilocalorie (kcal). When discussing the amount of calories in
food for the human diet, the kilocalorie is commonly referred
to as the Calorie (capital C). During normal activities humans
use between 2,200 and 2,600 Calories per day, or about 100
Calories per hour. When strenuous work is being performed,
the energy used may be three or four times the rate used while
resting.
In
order to remain healthy a person's diet should
include the number of Calories used during the day.
Animal energy expended during work can also be meas-
ured or estimated, and it is also possible to convert into calories
all energy used to make and power machines. When there is a
shift in technology, it is therefore possible to estimate the
changes in energy used to work the land.
The subject of efficiency of conversion of energy into an
agricultural product has generated much discussion, especially
since the early 1980s. Unfortunately, much of the work has
involved different methods of calculating energy inputs. We
will cite one example here. An energy analysis of three differ-
ent rice production methods was made.
3
These methods
include: (a) "traditional" (hand and hoe cultivation and plant-
ing, gravity-fed irrigation, only manure for fertilization, hand
sickle for harvesting, and hand threshing the grain); (b) "tran-
sitional" (bullock-pulled plow, hand seeding, better timed and
controlled irrigation, vetch, manure, and a small amount of
commercial chemicals for fertilizers, improved implements for
harvest and weed control, hand threshing); and (c) "Green
Revolution" (tractor and seeder, drilled wells and pumps,
commercial fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, tractor- driven
harvester, and machine thresher). As the accompanying table
shows, the energy used per hectare increases greatly between
traditional, transitional, and Green Revolution technology.
THIRD WORLD AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION 41
Energy Use and Output in Rice Production
Method Input Output Output Compar-
(heal/ hectare) {kcal/ hectare) Input
atiue Effz'-
ciency
Tradi-
tional 327,910 4,537,500 13.8 100
Transi-
tional 1,464,230 9,720,000
6.6
48
Green
Rev. 5,494,754 15,972,000 2.9 21
While yields also increase (due to better rice varieties, more
fertilizers, better pest control) when expressed in energy terms,
there is a lower efficiency of converting energy to food for the
more technologically advanced systems.
Similar results have also been observed for comparisons in
the United States. For example, in the study of Amish
agriculture referred to above, the modern farmers used 83
percent more energy to produce a unit of milk than did their
Amish neighbors in Pennsylvania. A University of Connecticut
study concludes that "for a surprising number of modem crop-
ping systems, a 10-to-50-fold increase in the use of cultural
energy [agricultural energy inputs in addition to sunlight] has
only doubled or tripled the digestible energy yield compared
with the more primitive systems using substantially less tech-
nology. This response exemplifies a decline of energy yield with
energy investment and reveals that progressively larger expend-
itures of cultural energy are being used less efficiently in crop
production.
"4
The energy conversion issue contains many complicated
questions that deserve more study. For example, while output
of any crop can easily be converted into energy terms (calories),
many crops are grown for qualities other than their energy con-
tents. For example, soybeans are grown for their oil and
protein, vegetables such as tomatoes and carrots for their vita-
min and mineral content, and cotton for its ability to be made
into cloth. How do you compare calories with protein,
minerals, cloth, etc.?
42 MONTHLY REVIEW IMAY 1982
Another question deals with how the energy contribution
of human labor is evaluated. In most studies only the actual
food energy consumed in the work process (i.e., the calories
that must be consumed so that the worker stays healthy) is
assumed to be expended. In a society in which there is excess
labor and this particular worker cannot work at some other
task, this estimate may make some sense. Working or not, the
person is alive and must consume food. Thus, the extra food
consumed to perform the work represents the energy used in
the work itself. However, when there are other possible
employment opportunities, a more rigorous accounting of the
"energy of labor" becomes important. This would be
analogous to Marx's value of labor power and would include
the energy needed to "reproduce" the laborer (the energy in
the worker's clothing, housing, education, recreation, etc.).
(2) Crop Quality.
Crop quality may be sacrificed when
machinery is introduced. Efficient machine harvesting occurs
when the whole field matures at ,the same time. In addition,
the crop must withstand the harvesting process with minimum
damage. However, varieties selected to mature evenly and to
be tough enough to withstand mechanical harvesting without
damage are not necessarily the most nutritious or tasty.
(3)
Planning for Mechanization.
In order to mechanize
rapidly, machinery is often introduced into Third World
countries on a large scale. It is frequently done without proper
study to find out whether the right type of machine has been
chosen for the particular situation. There are many examples
of false hopes and waste generated by such practices. For
example, one of Angola's leaders told of making "some deal
with the Bulgarians or the Russians to grow cotton, and we
bought their machines. But the machines tum out not to work
here; they're not suitable for Angola. Again,
I
saw a giant
machine for pineapple cultivation. It had never been used.
You see that kind of thing everywhere. We need to do things
our own
way."?
As important as doing the preliminary evaluation to
decide on the particular type of equipment needed is the task
of making preparations to ensure the continued operation of
the machines. Special provisions have to be made for training
TH IRD WORLD AGRICU LTURA L M ECHAN IZATION 43
farmersand/ or technicians in the use, maintenance, and
repair of the machines. In addition, a reliable supply of spare
parts must be assured and must flow readily to the rural areas
in order to minimize disruption of farming operations.
(4) Regional Inequality,
When resources are limited, a
country may decide that equipment purchased should be
concentrated in certain regions. Frequently, regions which are
already advanced are chosen to receive the new machines. For
example, "China is planning to emphasize development of the
already mechanized counties and state farms, and then count
on them to progressively meet the needs of the urban popula-
tion for grain and non-staple foodstuffs."6 While it is easier to
introduce new machines into already advanced regions, this
strategy must further accentuate the differences between
developed and underdeveloped agricultural regions within a
country. The perpetuation and enhancing of regional differ-
ences can make the attainment of equality (socialism) more
difficult.
(5) Soil Fertility and Other Ecological Considerations.
Machinery makes it easier to use land that might otherwise
have stayed fallow, or have been used at a low level of intensity.
The current rapid opening up and clearing of vast areas of the
Amazon River Basin (mainly in Brazil) is made possible with
the use of land clearing and shaping equipment (bulldozers
and graders) as well as mechanized techniques to actually farm
the cleared areas. Thus, it is much easier to rapidly upset
ecological systems. Some observers believe that in the case of
the Amazon River Basin the lack of trees to use large amounts
of carbon dioxide, coupled with the tremendous release of
carbon dioxide from decomposing soil organic matter where
soil is cultivated, will increase the carbon dioxide in the earth's
atmosphere. This may cause a "greenhouse effect" with a re-
sultant increase in the earth's average temperature, melting of
some of the arctic ice mass, and flooding of lowlying land.
Machinery also increases the. tendency of "modern agri-
culture" toward monoculture. The purchase of an expensive
machine specialized for only one crop will certainly induce the
owner to continue growing that crop. Thus, monocultures
become more attractive and even justifiable on narrow eco-
44
MONTHLY REVIEW
I
MAY 1982
nomic grounds. However, monoculture tends to bring with it a
set of problems such as a buildup of diseases, insects, and
weeds that parasitize or compete with the single crop. Rotation
of crops usually aids in control of these problems. In addition,
using very large machinery makes it more difficult to follow
proper erosion-control practices such as strip cropping or
terrace maintenance. This, in addition to the loss of soil
organic matter which accompanies continuous growing of row
crops by conventional tillage systems, can create a situation of
accelerated soilerosion. .
To Mechanize or Not!
While mechanization has little or
no positive effect on crop yields, it does increase output per
work hour. However, this is accomplished through lower
energy conversion efficiency. The question of whether or not to
mechanize and what type of equipment to use is one that must
be answered only for specific agricultural (soil, crop, and
climate) and socio-economic combinations. The elimination of
back-breaking, repetitive, and boring labor should be a goal of
a humane society. On the other hand, elimination of jobs when
other jobs are not available is not particularly humane.
From many points of view, not the least of which is the
necessity of uplifting the general technical capabilities of Third
World workers, it makes sense to me to mechanize a step at a
time. Learning how simple machines work and are repaired
prepares workers for tackling more complex machines. When
more complex machines are introduced, it also makes sense to
introduce them gradually. This allows for evaluation. of their
usefulness under local conditions.
A study prepared for the International Labor Office led to
the conclusion that "in effecting the transition from traditional
to modem farming, the introduction of machinery is neither
wholly good nor wholly bad; the balance of advantage will
depend upon local agricultural circumstances which must be
closelystudied in order to elucidate what degree of mechaniza-
tion will be the most advantageous economically and socially.
7
NOTES
I. W. P. Falcon, "The Green Revolution: Generations of Problems,"
American
Journal of Agriculture Economics
52(5): 698-710. 1970.
THIRD WORLD AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION 45
2. E. H. Carr and R.W. Davies,
A History of Soviet Russia: Foundations
of
a
Planned Economy,
1926·1929, vol I (New York: Macmillan, 1969), p. 199.
3. S. M. Freedman, "Modification of Traditional Rice Production. Practices in the
Qeveloping World: An Energy Efficiency Analysis,"
Agro-Ecosystems.
6: 129-
146.1980.
4. G. H. Heichel,
Comparative Efficiency of Energy Use in Crop Production,
Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station, New Haven, Bulletin 739. 1973.
5. New York Times
(February 8, 1981).
6. Beijing Review
(March 16, 1979),
7.
J.
Monly and E. Costa,
Employment Policies
in
Developing Countries: A
Com-par-
'ative Analysis,
Published for the International Labor Office, Geneva, by
George Allen and Unwin Ltd. London, 1974.
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... However, mechanization does not necessarily result in higher yields per acre, unless it allows a farmer to work in a more timely manner. 5 This heavier and more costly equipment has a potential downside. Larger equipment allows farmers to work on their land when it is too wet, leading to compaction, as damage to soil structure occurs more easily with a wetter soil. ...
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Modernity has introduced a lot of inventions and new trends with regards to Hausa foods. This does not only concern the dietary habits of the Hausas but the totality of the process of food processing starting from land preparation through harvesting to cooking. The article investigates the influence of modernity on Hausa foods. The major objectives of the study are to examine the new inventions to the Hausa food processing and preparation processes as well as to ascertain the overall positive and negative impacts of such new trends. The research is based on Food Neophobia and Variety Seeking theory. It is hypothesized that the Hausas will accept modernization in their search for new tastes. The research learned that despite the numerous importance of modern inventions, they have many negative effects on personal health, ecosystem, as well as socioeconomic wellbeing of individuals, especially if not utilized properly. Finally, the paper suggested that there should be joint efforts by governments, resource persons, and media outlets as campaigns for educating and orienting the public extensively on proper utilization of the modern innovations, a strive which should be accompanied by well-planned programs to support the less privileged individuals harness the benefit.
Conference Paper
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Organic agriculture is underdeveloped in Serbia, both in plant production and in livestock breeding. Bearing in mind that most agricultural producers do not have their own accumulation, or sources of self-financing, and that bank loans are unfavorable for most producers, financial support from the state is necessary for the development of organic livestock production in Serbia. The aim of the paper is to present the current state financial incentives, the relation of the agricultural policy measure defined for the purpose of developing organic livestock production in Serbia. The aim of the paper is to present the current state financial incentives, the relation of the agricultural policy measure defined for the purpose of developing organic livestock production in Serbia. The paper presents the amounts of incentives for certain types of cattle, as well as the total reserved funds for organic livestock production in the agrarian budget for 2018.
Conference Paper
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This paper reviews the agricultural and rural mechanisation literature and the experiences of developing countries with mechanisation projects, programmes and policies. It identifies different types of analysis and establishes areas of research that have had emphasis in the past and where new types of research are needed.Despite the availability of a considerable literature, institutional analysis has been marginalised at both the practical and the theoretical or academic level. Reasons for the omission of institutional analysis are suggested, a dynamic, interactive model of mechanisation processes is developed, a set of multiple criteria for the assessment and evaluation of rural mechanisation are established and the policy implications of the above are examined.
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Modifications of rice production practices are examined using the process method of energy analysis. Human and animal labor inputs, equipment requirements and auxilliary inputs of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and irrigation are calculated for various agricultural methods. Each operation in the cultivation process, i.e., seeding, land preparation, harvesting and threshing is examined with respect to cultural energy inputs.Traditional, transitional (labor intensive), Green Revolution (capital intensive) and experimental (intermediate) methods of rice production are compared by computing the ratio of food energy output to cultural energy input. For all methods of rice production, there is a greater energy output of food produced compared to cultural energy used for production. Comparative efficiencies are also calculated for each production method, contrasting the minimum amount of energy required to produce a specific quantity of rice with the actual amount of energy required. Measured in this way, the transitional method is seen as the most effective modification of the traditional method (a comparative efficiency of 48.0), compared with the experimental method (33.6) and the Green Revolution method (21.0).
Comparative Efficiency of Energy Use in Crop Production
  • G H Heichel
G. H. Heichel, Comparative Efficiency of Energy Use in Crop Production, Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station, New Haven, Bulletin 739. 1973.
Come with us! 1982 URPE SUMMER CONFERENCE
  • George Allen
  • Unwin Ltd
  • London
George Allen and Unwin Ltd. London, 1974. Come with us! 1982 URPE SUMMER CONFERENCE August 25-29