Farming mechanization is generally regarded as one of the critical input variables for increasing agricultural productivity and total food production. Most rural communities in the world earn most of their living from agriculture, yet a very low percentage of their land is productively cultivated.
[Developing countries] The estimated fraction of the number of tractors in use in relation to the potential demand in developing countries indicates that a very substantial proportion of this potential demand goes unfilled by locally produced or assembled products or by imports from developed countries. Analysis of trade statistics and other industry data indicate that a major reason for this sort of imbalance is that in real terms, farm machinery exported to or assembled in developing countries, with transnational corporations as a major partner, are almost invariably beyond the means of individual small-scale farmers, both at the point of purchase and at subsequent routine operations of the equipment on the farm.
Equipment operating costs, including energy, spare parts and servicing, contribute additional burdens to the small-scale farmer and further compel a government providing aid to intervene by way of control and subsidy of spare parts, fuel and community repair shops. Again, this has the effect of further limiting the units of equipment that can be deployed in the agricultural sector, while removing the full marketing and servicing responsibility from the manufacturer, to the extent that the host government gets involved in such activities.