African farm systems remain the least mechanized of all continents. There were substantial state-led efforts to promote agricultural mechanization during the 1960s and 1970s, but these efforts failed, which led to a subsequent neglect of mechanization, both in practice and in academia.

In the quest to reduce global under- and malnutrition, which is particularly high among smallholder farmers, agriculture-nutrition linkages have received a lot of attention in recent years.

After many years of neglect, there is a renewed interest in agricultural mechanization in Africa. Since government initiatives to promote mechanization, e.g., by importing and subsidizing tractors, are confronted with major governance challenges, private-sector initiatives offer a promising alternative.