An assessment of Animal draught power in agricultural production: A case of Matondo Village-Kalomo District

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Hamoonga, Webster L.M.
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The general objective of this study was to make an assessment of the role of animal draught power and the diffusion of donkey farm technology in agricultural production. The focus of the study were the oxen and the donkey owners. The target was to see how donkey farm mechanization is spreading and its effectiveness in agriculture production. The present agriculture production and pre-ECF epidemic period agriculture production were also investigated.Generally, animal draught power plays a key role in the development of the agricultural sector. This is due to its capability to increase the agriculture productivity. However, animal draught power particularly oxen has been affected by East Coast Fever (ECF) disease resulting in deaths of hundreds of cattle. This has seen a reduction in agricultural productivity and high levels of poverty. Therefore, one potential substitute to oxen has been identified as donkeys. Hence, the donkey farm power is believed to be an alternative farm power that will reduce the country's dependence on cattle that are more vulnerable to many diseases. Therefore, to carry out this research, the households were chosen randomly and out of the 60 households, 40 households were sampled. Hence, the method used to get this sample was the judgmental or purposive method. This was due to the nature of the village with unstable and mobile household members. As a result, those households which were viewed as typical representative of the sample or researcher's interest were chosen.The study therefore revealed that the current agriculture production is hot as it was before the pre-ECF epidemic period. There is low production due to fewer oxen used in agriculture production. On the other hand, some slight improvement in crop production in Matondo Village has been witnessed although not more than pre- ECF period. This increase in the crop productivity is attributed to a number of people who have adopted the donkey farm mechanization as an alternative farm power. As a result, the adoption of donkey farm mechanization has helped to increase crop productivity of Matondo Village as well as Kalomo District. Therefore, the study revealed that there is a relationship between animal draught power and agriculture production. This means, households with animal draught power have the capacity to produce enough with some surplus for both home consumption and for sale. Further, it was found that the recent recovery in agriculture production is a result of the recent diffusion of donkey farm technology in Matondo Village. To test these hypothesis to find out whether there is any relationship between the used variables, the Spearmann's Rank Correlation was used. In addition, the study revealed that although some households have adopted the donkeys, the rate of diffusion is very slow. This is due to its low status in the village. As a result, some measures were suggested by the villagers such as giving donkey loans or capital to buy donkeys, teaching fanners the effectiveness of the donkeys in agriculture production, giving small scale farmers free donkeys and launching of some sensitization campaigns to boost the status of donkeys.Finally, the study revealed some problems farmers face in the agriculture production. However, more importantly, the study suggested measures that can help to ensure even adoption of the donkeys as an alternative fann power such as linking them to cheaper sources of donkeys.
Draft Animals-Kalomo,Zambia , Animal Traction-Kalomo,Zambia