The impact of agricultural mechanization on smallholder agricultural productivity: Evidence from Mnquma Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province


  • L. Mdoda University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • S.T.C. Mdletshe University of Fort Hare
  • M.C. DYIKI University of Fort Hare
  • L. Gidi University of Limpopo



Agricultural mechanization, Farm returns, Food security, Productivity, Smallholder farmers


Smallholder agriculture is one of the imperative segments in the South African economy and it remains a vital sector for livelihood generation. Despite its numerous benefits and efforts, smallholder productivity has not improved as expected due to many underlying factors. This paper investigates factors influencing and the impact of agricultural mechanisation on smallholder agricultural production in Mquma Local Municipality located in the Eastern Cape Province. The study applied a descriptive survey research design. A stratified sampling procedure was used to gather information from 120 smallholder farmers using a semi-structured survey. Data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics, a Logistic Regression Model, and Propensity Score Matching. The results of the study reveal that about 90% of the smallholder farmers were using agricultural mechanisation for farming. The use of agricultural mechanisation has an impact on smallholder agricultural production. It ensured a proliferation in smallholder productivity, farm returns, and crop intensity. The study recommends that government and relevant stakeholders must develop effective agricultural access to credit by farmers as a strategy for increasing the adoption attitude to agricultural mechanization. The study suggests that reinforcement of the promotion of innovative technology adoption will have a crucial role in improving smallholder agriculture.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


ADAM, S. A. S. & HASSAN, T.A., 2015. Socio-economic factors influencing small-scale farmer's livelihoods and food security in central Darfur state – Sudan. International Journal of Cur. Res. Lif. Sci., 4 (11): 464-468.

AGRISA., 2015. Youth in Agriculture. Available from: https: //mg. future.

AMARE, D. & ENDALEW, W., 2016. Agricultural Mechanization: Assessment of Mechanization Impact Experiences on the Rural Population and the Implications for Ethiopian Smallholders. Eng. App. Sci., 1 (2): 39-48. Available from: 10.11648/j.eas.20160102.15

AS-SUNNY, F., HUANG, Z. & KARIMANZIRA, T. T. P., 2018. Investigating Key Factors Influencing Farming Decisions Based on Soil Testing and Fertilizer Recommendation Facilities (STFRF)—A Case Study on Rural Bangladesh. Sus., 10: 4331

AYANDIJI, A. & OLOFINSAO, O. T., 2015. Socio-Economic Factors affecting Adoption of Farm Mechanization by Cassava Farmers in Ondo State, Nigeria. IOSR J. Env. Sci. Tox. Foo. Tech., 9 (3): 39-45.

BASTIAN, R. M., SWANEPOEL, J. W. & VAN NIEKERK, J. A., 2019. Effectiveness of the implementation of the mechanization program for emerging farmers in the Overberg and Eden Districts of the Western Cape. S. Afr. J. Agric. Ext., 47 (2): 58 – 71. Available from:

BAUDRON, F., MISIKO, M., GETNET, B., NAZARE, R., SARIAH, J. & KAUMBUTHO, P., 2019. A farm-level assessment of labor and mechanization in Eastern and Southern Africa. Agr. Sus. Dev., 39: 17. Available from:

BAIPHETHI, M. N., 2009. The contribution of subsistence farming to food security in South Africa. Agr. J. SA, 48 (4): 22-423.

BECERRIL, J. & ABDULAI, A., 2010. The impact of improved maize varieties on poverty in Mexico: a propensity score matching approach. Wor. Dev., 38: 1024-1035.

CALIENDO, M. & KOPEINIG, S., 2008. Some practical guidance for the implementation of propensity score matching. J. Econ. Sur., 22, 31-72.

CHAUKE, P. K., MOTLHATLHANA, M. L., PFUMAYARAMBA, T. K. & ANIM, F. D. K., 2013. Factors influencing access to credit: A case study of smallholder farmers in the Capricorn district of South Africa. Afri. J. Agr. Res., 8 (7): 582-585.

CHRISTIAN, M. & MDODA, L., 2019. Household Food Security, Dietary Diversity and Coping Strategies amongst Irrigators in Nqamakwe, Eastern Cape. J Hum Ecol, 68 (1-3): 78-88. Available from:10.31901/24566608.2019/68.1-3.3169.

COCHRAN, W. G., 1963. Sampling Techniques, 2nd Ed., New York: John Wiley and Sons,


COSSAR, F., 2019. Impact of mechanization on smallholder agricultural production: evidence from Ghana. Contributed Paper prepared for presentation at the 93rd Annual Conference of the Agricultural Economics Society, University of Warwick, England 15 – 17 April 2019.

DAGNINET, A. & WOLELAW, E., 2016. Agricultural Mechanization: Assessment of Mechanization Impact Experiences on the Rural Population and the Implications for Ethiopian Smallholders. Engineering and Applied Sciences, 1 (2): 39-48.

DE GROOTE, H., MARANGU, C. & GITONGA, Z. M., 2018. Trends in Agricultural Mechanization in Kenya’s Maize Production Areas from 1992-2012. Agr. Mec. Asi., Afr. Lat. Ame., 49 (4): 2010–2013.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, & FISHERIES (DAFF)., 2016. Economic Review of the South African Agriculture 2016/17.

DHRAIEFA, M. Z., BEDHIAF-ROMDHANIA, S., DHEHIBIB, B., OUESLATI-ZLAOUIA, M., JEBALIA, O. & BEN YOUSSEFA, S., 2018. Factors Affecting the Adoption of Innovative Technologies by Livestock Farmers in Arid Area of Tunisia. FARA Research Report, 3 (5): 22.

EKEPU, D. & TIRIVANHU, P., 2016. Assessing socio-economic factors influencing adoption of legume-based multiple cropping systems among smallholder sorghum farmers in Soroti, Uganda. S. Afr. J. Agric. Ext., 44 (2): 195 –215. Available from:


FOOD & AGRICULTURAL ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS (FAO)., 2016. Sustainable Food and Agriculture: The role of mechanization in agricultural sustainability. Available on:

FOOD & AGRICULTURAL ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS (FAO)., 2009. Agricultural Services Bulletin 45 – Rome. Agricultural Mechanization in Development - Guidelines for Strategy Development - by R.C. Gifford and the staff of AGSE.

GHIMIRE, R. & HUANG, W., 2016. Adoption Pattern and Welfare Impact of Agricultural Technology: Empirical Evidence from Rice Farmers in Nepal. J. Sou. Asi. Dev., 11(1): 113–137. Available from: 10.1177/0973174116629254

IFAD AND UNEP. 2013. Smallholders, food security, and the environment, Via Paolo di Dono, 44 - 00142 Rome, Italy.

KABUNGA, N. S., DUBOIS, T. & QAIM, M., 2014. Impact of tissue culture banana technology on farm household income and food security in Kenya. Foo. Pol., 45: 25-34.

KEBEBE. E. G., 2015. Understanding factors affecting technology adoption in smallholder livestock production systems in Ethiopia. Published Ph.D. Thesis, Wageningen University, Netherlands.

KHONJE, M., MANDA, J., ALENE, A. D. AND KASSIE, M., 2015. Analysis of Adoption and Impacts of Improved Maize Varieties in Eastern Zambia. Wor. Dev., 66: 695–706.

LEUVEN, E. & SIANESI, B. 2012. PSMATCH2: Stata module to perform full Mahalanobis and propensity score matching, common support graphing, and covariate imbalance testing. Statistical Software Components.

LYDIA, N. N., BJORN, V. C. & DAVID, A., 2017. Stimulating Agricultural Technology Adoption: Lessons from Fertilizer Use among Ugandan Potato Farmers, IFPRI Discussion Paper 1608, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI): Washington, DC, USA: 36.

MACHETHE, T. A., 2016. Economic and marketing analysis of smallholder broiler production in Mopani District of Limpopo Province, South Africa. Published MSc Dissertation, University of Limpopo, RSA.

MDODA, L. & OBI, A., 2019. Analysis of profitability of smallholder Irrigated food plots in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. J. Agr. Rur. Dev., 3 (53): 225–232. Available from:

MDODA, L., MELENI, S., MUJURU, N. & ALAKA, K. O., 2019. Agricultural Credit Effects on Smallholder Crop Farmers Input Utilisation in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. J. Hum. Eco., 66 (1-3): 45-55. Available from: 10.31901/24566608.2019.

MOTTALEB, K. A., KRUPNIK, T. J. & ERENSTEIN, O., 2016. Factors associated with small-scale agricultural machinery adoption in Bangladesh: Census findings. J. Rur. Stu., 46: 155-168.

MREMA G., SONI P. & ROLLE R. S., 2014. A regional strategy for sustainable agricultural mechanization: sustainable mechanization across agri-food chains in Asia and the Pacific region. Bangkok: FAO.

MWANGI, M. & KARIUKI, S., 2015. Factors Determining Adoption of New Agricultural Technology by Smallholder Farmers in Developing Countries. J. Eco. Sus. Dev., 6 (5).

MUSUNGWINI, S., 2018. Mobile phone use by Zimbabwean smallholder farmers: A baseline study. The Afr. J. Inf. Com., 22: 29-52. Available from:

STATISTICS SOUTH AFRICA (STATS SA)., 2016. Community Survey of Agricultural Farming Households. Available on:

SCHMITZ, A. & MOSS, C. B., 2015. Mechanized agriculture: machine adoption, farm size, and labor displacement. AgBioForum, 18(3): 278–96.

SINGH, J., 2005. Scope, progress and constraints of farm mechanization in India. Status of farm mechanization in India. 48-56.

SRISOMPUN, O., ATHIPANYAKUL, T. & ISVILANONDA, S., 2019. The adoption of mechanization, labour productivity and household income: Evidence from rice production in Thailand. TVSEP Working Paper, No. WP-016, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Thailand Vietnam Socio Economic Panel (TVSEP), Hannover.

TEGEGNE, Y., 2017. Factors affecting adoption of legume technology and its impact on the income of farmers: the case of Sinana and Ginir Woredas of Bale Zone. Published MSc. Thesis, Haramaya University, Haramaya.

TAKELE, A. & SELASSIE, Y. G., 2018. Socio-economic analysis of conditions for the adoption of tractor hiring services among smallholder farmers, North-western Ethiopia. Cog. Foo. Agri., 4(1): 145-978. Available from:

WOOLDRIDGE, J. M., 2009. Introductory Econometrics, a Modern Approach, Fourth Edition. Michigan State University.




How to Cite

Mdoda, L., Mdletshe, S., DYIKI, M., & Gidi, L. (2022). The impact of agricultural mechanization on smallholder agricultural productivity: Evidence from Mnquma Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension (SAJAE), 50(1), 76–101.

Most read articles by the same author(s)