Effectiveness of the implementation of the mechanisation programme for emerging farmers in the Overberg and Eden Districts of the Western Cape
Agricultural mechanisation has received increased interest during the last decade for the development of agriculture in African countries. One of the challenges of mechanisation in farming is the high cost associated with the procurement and maintenance of tractors and implements. Therefore, a mechanisation programme to assist with the development of emerging farmers in the country was established. The study was undertaken to determine the effective implementation of the mechanisation programme from the perspectives of farmers and extension officers. The study aimed to investigate whether the programme has assisted with the development of emerging farmers and whether the current implements in centres are suitable for the various commodities produced per area. To meet the objectives of this study, structured questionnaires were administered to participants and interviews were conducted with stakeholders in management positions. The findings revealed that the efficiency of the mechanisation programme can be improved upon, as farmers highlighted challenges that included access to mechanisation centres, the correct type and availability of implements. Nevertheless, the mechanisation programme has had a positive impact on the development of emerging farmers, and they feel that if issues are addressed, the programme could be even more beneficial in ensuring that recipients of the programme reap maximum benefits.
Keywords: Emerging farmers, Extension, Mechanisation