Profiling Agricultural Engineering Technologies for Mechanizing Smallholder Agriculture in Uganda
Keywords:Agricultural engineering, mechanization, smallholder farmers, food security
Developing countries are grappling with numerous challenges including feeding rapidly growing populations, alleviating poverty, protecting the environment and mitigating adverse impacts of climate change. For the coming years, one of the main agricultural development agenda for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) should be to increase agricultural productivity and production to achieve food security through agricultural mechanization with Agricultural Engineering Technologies (AETs) as major inputs. However, there is paucity of information on the status of existing AETs and their contribution to mechanizing smallholder agriculture which is crucial to effective planning and strategy formulation. Therefore, the overarching objective of this paper is to review past and present status, constraints to adoption and future of AETs in Uganda in the context of mechanizing smallholder agriculture. Several proven AETs developed through research institutions and universities have been profiled in different areas of farm power and mechanization systems, agro-processing for value addition; renewable energy systems; water harnessing and utilization and other emerging agricultural engineering fields. The future of AETs in Uganda is hinged on the interaction of AETs with key drivers that include policy, social, cultural, economic, environmental, vocational skills development, innovation protection, research and institutional partnerships.