THE STORY OF A COMBINED HARVESTER - IS
THIS THE TRUE STORY OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
This picture tells quite a lot and could well be an exercise for both Agric Gen and Agric Edu students at the one and only Nar U Cam, yes, Njala University College, the country's top university when it comes to the subject. Ask the students, to tell you from their perspective, based on what they see in the picture as well as their own experience, what the story is as it relates to food production and mechanisation. Would make quite some interesting reading.
So what can you glean from the picture?
The machine is a combined harvester alright, but what does it do and how appropriate is it for the conditions in Sierra Leone?
The markings in red - Shan Dong Da Feng is indeed a Chinese manufacturing company that specialises in such products as you can see should you click on this link and when you do, you will see one machine which looks similar to the one abandoned in Sierra Leone - the 4LZ-3.0 Rice Combine Harvester or for the bigger picture click here.
According to the manufacturers, the abandoned machine has these characteristics which should make it good or bad for agriculture depending on what you want to see. Depending on whether you want to see increased food production or not so that more money could go into the pockets of rice importers including those with close association/affinity with the State House kitchen cabinet.
1.New threshing mechanism, bigger area of threshing and separation, thorough threshing effect
2.New cleaning mechanism, double fans and sieves, gain more cleaner grain
3.To prevent from falling with wider track
4.Capacious grain tank, optional unloading auger
5.Improved Reel: Spring tine/tooth, hydraulic control, and good for lodging crop.
6.Optional hydraulic steering, CAB,breaker of ridge
So there you have it and the question now is - how come such a machine ending up abandoned in a village in Sierra Leone.
Some possible answers
a. The machine was abandoned because it could no longer move on its own to its usual parking area.
b. It was abandoned because there was no one around to dismantle it and take it to the next farm where it would be needed because the next farm owner was not an APC party card-carrying farmer.
c. It could have been abandoned because the moving parts have no lubricant to get them moving as those lubricants could have been pilfered and sold to private individuals.
d. It could have been abandoned because of a lack of spare parts - those vital ingredients already sold to private individuals.
e. It could have been abandoned because the government is just not interested in increased food production and would want things to remain as they are so that Foreign minister Zainab Bangura and the President's brothers and other relations could have a field day exploiting the hunger and needs of the people.