The agricultural sector can only perform efficiently if the manufacturing sectors provide adequate and affordable tools and equipment.
In Europe, the revolution in the agricultural sector was made possible by locally producing all the necessary equipment. Even small villages had well-equipped metal workshops to supply all necessary tools and household items.
Existing small metalwork facilities in both rural and urban areas of Africa should be strengthen and provided with adequate skills and know-how, if poverty is to be eradicated.
Small scale manufacturing plays a huge role in the livelihoods of women and men living in poverty in developing countries.
Tens of millions of people – rural people who lack land and or adequate employment in agriculture, and urban residents who do not have formal employment – depend for at least part of their income on small scale, often home-based manufacturing and processing activities.
But poor people are also consumers of manufactured goods which are essential for their livelihoods. Hundreds of millions of farmers, for example, require tools and capital equipment for their agricultural production.
In Zimbabwe, 700 000 school leavers enter the labour market each year – competing for at most 40 000 jobs.
As the majority of people look to the informal sector for their livelihood opportunities, they are likely to be drawn into ‘micro and small scale enterprises.
Micro and small scale manufacturing enterprises typically include small metal workshops, home-based textile production, craft products and repair shops etc.
The small scale enterprises are the most vulnerable to rapid change, and the least well positioned to benefit, since they have very little market power, and may not have ready access to the information, knowledge and skills required to identify and exploit new opportunities.
Manufactured goods and imported technologies are more often unaffordable for women and men living in poverty. They may also be inappropriate.