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Draught animals

Draught animals

By Philippe Lhoste, Michel Havard, Eriv Vall and Anthony Smith
Published by CTA/Macmillan
Website: www.publications.cta.int
2013, 160 pp, ISBN 978-0-33372-366-1 (Pb)

While draught animals have been used by farmers for centuries, whether for ploughing, threshing, transport, or in other ways, their use is often inefficient. Poor training practices, badly designed harnesses that cause sores and infections, inappropriate implements, and erosion-promoting work practices are all too common, causing suffering to animals, harm to the environment and reduced farm output. Yet the advantages to be gained from draught animals are significant, allowing a farmer to increase his or her area of cultivation by, on average, five times, providing manure to boost soil fertility, and being a valuable capital asset in areas without financial services.

Currently, draught animals are only used by around one-third of farmers worldwide. Increasing that number would require significant inputs, including training for farmers and blacksmiths, and careful integration into agricultural systems. But given rising fuel prices and greenhouse gas emissions, use of draught animals could, for many smallholders, be a better route to higher productivity than oil-based vehicles and machinery. For those interested in exploring the use of animals as a means to sustainable mechanisation, or improving current practices, this new volume in the Tropical Agriculturalist series is highly recommended.

Date published: October 2013


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