What is it?
The power tillers are machines powered with 1-5 horsepower engine and designed to propel forward or backwards different agriculture implements. Their frame can be adopted to suit its purpose e.g. to pull a disc plow or push a reaper harvester. They could also be designed to be operated by walking or sitting depending on the implement it is pushing or pulling. Its speed is controlled through its handlebars. Its tires can be changed to operate in dry and wet soil surface. As a safety feature, most power tillers can propel only forward and not backward
What are the benefits and added value?
Powertillers are versatile machines that can power the operation of various farm implements such as; plow disc, rotary puddler, leveler, thresher, and trailers. It is light and easy to manipulate in the field when it is wet or dry. All implements can be manufacturers locally. The power tiller can be converted to a mechanical reaper to harvest rice by adding a cutter bar as shown in the picture on the right side.
The power tiller can be used in almost all agricultural operations that demand labour which;
- allows expansion of cultivable land
- improves timeliness of farm operations
- enables easy accomplishment of tasks that are difficult to perform
- improves quality of work and products
- reduces drudgery in farming and makes work more attractive
- frees up the time of farmers for other farm operations
What are the drawbacks?
It is an investment of high costs, but can be used for all farming operations including transport of agriculture products. It requires regular maintenance by skilled operators. It can be used to be a service-provider tool and it is economically profitable for the owner of the power tiller.
Where has it been tested?
The powertillers and its implement have been tested in almost all countries in Africa in particular in Mali Senegal and Uganda. Its implements can be locally manufactured by AfricaRice trained manufacturers.