QUESTION: Zambia uses both appropriate and inappropriate technology in various sectors. Choose one sector of your choice, identify and discuss both appropriate and inappropriate technology being used in that sector. Originality and practical examples are encouraged in your easy. Zambia uses both appropriate and inappropriate technology in various sectors. This approach has had both negative and positive impact on Zambia’s efforts to development. And so, for us to appreciate this impact, let focus on one key sector of the economy where appropriate and inappropriate technology is used .
In this paper I shall focus on this agricultural sector as the area of research. In the first place, I shall focus on establishing the working definition of the terminologies we are using namely: appropriate and inappropriate technology. The clear understanding of these terms will help us appreciate the extent of the research in the said sector . In order for us to establish fully how such technology is classified as appropriate or not, I shall argue with the aid of examples drawn from the Zambian Agricultural sector, focusing on the success and failures in the sector.
The whole essences is to analysis is the extent at which technology affect the rate as well as the quality of development in a particular sector. The usage of appreciate technology is mostly meant to solve issues such as extreme poverty, starvation, unemployment and urban migration. And so, the success scored in that sector definitely will determine the appropriateness of the technology that has been used . This line of argument will only be applicable in concrete situations as found in Zambia.
It is for this reason that this paper will spend time analyzing practical examples of technology usage in the agricultural sector. And so, as a way concluding our discussion, I shall establish the possible ways in which technology can use appropriately in order to better the lives of most Zambians. As we will see, at times it is a problem of application more than the technology that is at fault. (Akuffo 2006) despite rapid technological change in recent decades, many of the ways of thinking of people refrain rooted in the old system.
In other words ignorance and not lack of technology is a factor to underdevelopment in most poor countries. The term technology is made up of two words name “techno” which is loosely interpreted as the skill or equipment and “logy” as the knowledge that one acquires in order to use a particular skills or equipment or tool. This notion of technology has both moral as well as social implication. In other words, the implications are such that if an individual does not have the necessary training and yet acquires the equipment, they may fail to use the technology.
At the same time, one can have the knowledge or an idea of a machine, but they might not have the skills needed to operate such a piece of machine or equipment. This view brings us to the issue of right or wrong technology or better put, appropriate and inappropriate technology. The term appropriate implies that the technology being used as suitable and conducive, and such technology is responsive to particular needs. It answers the challenges that are being faced in a particular setting. Of course, it is not a question of percentage but success being scored .
Here the understanding is that such technology is able to be used for the betterment of the immediate community. In short, it addresses the needs of the community at hand. (Akuffo 2006) in some respect, technological advances have improved life and brought the world’s people closer together with a global village (p. 37). The challenges being faced could include issues such as poverty, hunger, disease, unemployment, and lack of basic needs. And so, when such technology is applied, it can be considered to be appropriate if such challenges are eradicated or even reduced to a greater extent.
The term implies that such a technology is not responsive to the challenges at hand. It is not appropriate. It fails to address the challenges being faced by the community . At times, such technology tends to be damaging to the environment as well as the social structure organization of the community. As such it scores little or no success. Instead, the community ends up complaining and even protesting against the use of such technology. (Akuffo 2006) acknowledges that technological waken are daunting problems of establishing peace, ensuring justice, sustaining a safe environment, problems that technology alone can never solve.
Having established a working definition, I will put the discussion into the context of the Zambian agricultural sector. It must say from the on-set that Zambia has used both appropriate and inappropriate technology in various sector of her economy. All this has been done with the quest to develop and better the lives of her people. The agricultural sector is one of such sector when both appropriate and inappropriate technology has been used. Since the 1970’s, Zambia has relied on simple, relatively inexpensive Agricultural research programme to enhance agricultural productivity. Bezuneh 2005) mentions that in early stages of research programmes, research was conducted in order to develop productivity through enhancing technologies ( i. e. Fertilizer pesticide and capital intensive crops). One appropriate technology that was used in the agricultural sector was the introduction of oxen power for tillage. The usage of such technology was availed to small scale farmers in the Eastern, Southern and Central province. The whole undertaking was done in order to fight the challenges of hunger and poverty.
The introduction of oxen’s for tillage was well received by the local community because it went well with traditional background of these pastoralist groupings in the provinces. In fact, these were communities which had been using oxen for farming for a long time. However, the introduction of new breeds animals and new equipment was meant to foster the already embedded abilities in the communities. The results were such that these provinces increase their levels of food production. Of course, there was also the introduction of fertilizers for use in the small fields’ .
With proper training; such areas become the bread baskets for the country. (Bezuneh 2005) observes that the type and degree of technology requirement varies with each farmer (p. 15). In short, the farmers were equipped according to their agricultural capabilities Another appropriate technology was the usage of cooperative marketing systems. What this implied was that farmers were trained and organized to trade in products according to groups. This arrangement saw the growth of the cooperative movement in the country and ultimately lead to the establishment of the cooperative bank better known as lima Bank .
Of course, it can be argued that farmers were just better organized, but the truth of the matter is that once they were better organized, faculties such as tractors, deep tanks and even irrigation systems were introduced in the communities. Again, (Bezuneh 2005) noted that the Adaptive research planning teams developed specific technology recommendation domains for each farmer. These domains were defined on the basis of wealth, risk and level of mechanization. The resulting efforts were that there was food increase as well as improved per capital income at household level.
Certainly, this was true in Southern, Eastern and Central provinces of the country. The introduction of meteorological forecast on weather is another example of appropriate technology in the agricultural sector. It must be said that this was accompanied by frequent radio broadcasts. This faculty helped and is still helping the small as well as commercial farmers to plan and even organize their farming activities in relation to the weather patterns that flowed through the course of the year. In short, farmers with such available information could plan better and do their tasks in an orderly manner.
Accompanying this faculty was the introduction of extension worker service whose role was to explain the challenges that modern farming was faced with, which included issues of clement and weather. Here it is easy to argue that such technology was guided by the field workers. However, any good technology should be self-explanatory or self-implementary. In short, the local community should be able to follow it through and use it without major setback in the course of operation. Examples of inappropriate technology include the introduction of cell phones in the marketing system.
The idea was that farmers if need be, would use the available phone lines in order to check on prices for their produces to determined by the stock-exchange trade. However, it result was that most farmers failed to use the facility. The challenges came from the inconsistencies as well as high level of ignorance. The usage of chemicals fertilizers was another failure of technology usage. Most farmers had little or no idea on the ways of applying such fertilizers. They ended up applying more or less in some case. This resulted into failed yield and poor returns.
For years, the central government tried at all costs to improve the quality and quantity of yield for small scale farmers but little was achieved. This has lead to food insecurity in most cases. (Isiwala 2005) mentions that information and experience sharing and technology transfer through efficient and effective system should also be supported and implemented in order to address problems of food security and nutrition. The failure to transfer the technology of fertilizer management has not gone unnoticed by other stockholders. According to the World Bank the fertilizer consumption in Zambia more than doubled between 1970 and 1987. Bezunel et al. 153) The usage of hybrid deeds is another example of inappropriate technology in the Agricultural sector. The sector saw the introduction of various seed varieties into the community. However, these new varieties demanded that the fields were prepared in a special way, because of the challenges of pests and changes in weather patterns. The local or small scale farmers were faced with challenges of establishing which varieties best suited their specific areas or regions This problem was further faced by pastoralists or the animal keeper. New hybrids were introduced without much regard to the area or regional challenges.
The end result was that such farmers were in worse off situation or position because at the end of the day, yield nothing or very little. Those into annual management were faced with high costs of maintaining the animals (vaccines, deeping, and routine check up). This resulted into most of their animals dying off even from treatable diseases. This experience brought about challenges of mistrusting any genetic engineered breeds, in the farming communities. The winter maize or crop management is another example of inappropriate technology in the agriculture sector.
Under the winter maize growing project, irrigation methods were introduced with the view that the local farmers would use simple equity to grow maize and other crops during winter. This was in an effort to focus wealthy creation as well as promote crop diversification. The project involved the trap of rain water, storing it in dams and eventually using it to irrigate the crops planted around winter time . The whole undertaking failed in most areas because most of the water sources tended to dry up in the middle of the winter farming season. Moreover the irrigation equipment uses electricity which is beyond the reach of most local people. The usage of herbicides and pesticides is another example of inappropriate technology in the agricultural sector. These chemicals are formulated in such a way that once applied, they help the farmers to control pests as well as to get rid of weeds in the fields. However, the Zambian experience has been such that most of the chemicals have been misapplied or used wrongly contrary to the user instructions. The results have proved to be damaging to the environment as well as human health. In some cases, these chemicals have been used in streams and rivers in order to catch fish. As expected, a lot of river life is destroyed.
Here the point is that misapplication of helpful technology can render it to be inappropriate. In short, it fails to address the challenges that are faced by the farmers. As a result, most small and medium farmers still use their traditional ways of treating pests and weeds in spite of the presence of these cheaper and effective chemicals in their communities. (Mabwe 2006) acknowledges that rural poverty is largely attributed to the poorly functioning markets for agricultural output and productivity because of reliance on very basic implements as well as low utilization of agricultural inputs.
In short, the farmers are poor because of the misapplication of good technology and lack of awareness from the people who introduces them. From our study, it’s seen that Zambia in her quest to develop has being using appropriate and inappropriate technologies in the various sectors. This paper’s discussion has been centred on the agricultural sector as one of such areas. From the definition it’s noted that technology can be appropriate or not depending on the factors such as: addressing effectively and efficiently issues such as poverty, hungry disease and lack of basic needs.
It involves usage of simple or easy to follow instruction, less expensive or cheaper, less damaging to the environment and improving the quality of life. Such technology must be available and affordable to most of the people faced with challenges. And so from such a broad based concept of appropriate or inappropriate technology, this paper was able to analyse the agricultural sector in Zambia. The study also shows that the usage of oxen power for tillage, the establishment of extension services cooperatives and research stations are examples of appropriate technology used so far.
In fact the result and benefits of such developments have been appreciated. However, we also noted that certain technologies introduced in the sector were inappropriate. These include the usage of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and the pesticides. The usage of meteorological forecast and even the cell phones foe marketing also failed to reap the intended results. And so we concluded that even good technology when not properly applied can be considered inappropriate. Finally, if Zambia is to develop efficiently, it must find a way of determining which technology is appropriately when and where.
This approach will save both financial resources as well as time factor. Apart from that such an approach would ensure that the type of development being perused is both sustainable and attainable. This way of development is not confined the agricultural sector alone but to all other sectors which face similar challenges. Reference World bank (1980-1994) World Bank development report oxford university press: New York Benzuneh M , (2005) Sustainable agriculture development using a farming system Approach in Zambia ecological economics vol. 15 No 2.
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