The Resurgence of Agricultural Mechanisation in Ethiopia: Rhetoric or Real Commitment?
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Ethiopia’s agricultural development strategies bypassed smallholder mechanisation for decades. Mechanisation returned to the policy agenda in 2013 but recent pro-mechanisation rhetoric lacks operational commitments. Based on primary and secondary data, this paper traces the policies and policy narratives that have led to low mechanisation, and finds that mechanisation was deprioritised on the grounds that Ethiopia is labour- and land-abundant, but short of capital. With policy encouraging multiple cropping, but farming vulnerable to climate change, the paper argues for the development of a market for mechanisation, including mechanisation service provision through private and cooperative agents, to enhance smallholder access to mechanisation and unleash human energy.