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Preexisting Appropriate Technology Initiatives
  • Trevor Cree wrote:

    I was interested to see that the video of Marcin Jakubowski's TED presentation has received 811,745 views and + 30,000 Likes. Congratulations to Marcin. It was a very slick presentation.

    Marcin is clearly a highly qualified and intelligent scientist but if he had undertaken basic online research before he started his initial farming project he would have discovered that the appropriate machines that he stated "did not exist" if fact do, in their hundreds throughout the world.

    When I studied agricultural engineering at Newcastle University in the 1960s work had already started in Swaziland on an appropriate technology tractor called Tinkabi.
    Even the idea and practice to create and disseminate design drawings for appropriate machinery is over 40 years old, as demonstrated by the original ITG Group.

    1. Intermediate Technology Development Group ( "In 1965, radical economist and philosopher Fritz Schumacher had an article published in the Observer. In it he pointed out the inadequacies of conventional aid policies, as they were then, on the transfer of modern, capital-intensive and large-scale technologies to developing countries which did not have the financial resources, technical skills or mass markets to accommodate them. (He wrote a book entitled "Small is Beautiful" and it was extremely influential at the time.)

    The ITG Group initially saw its aim as:

    - Promoting the systematic assembly and documentation of all data relating to intermediate techniques and technologies.

    - Drawing attention to them by publishing information about them, promoting the concept of Intermediate Technology, and advertising the group's services.

    - Offering advice and assistance to overseas projects in order to demonstrate the practical use of intermediate technologies in helping poor people to help themselves.

    One of the Groups first tasks in June 1966 was to produce a "Directory of Hand and Animal Drawn Equipment."

    In 1977 RNAM was created specifically to undertake a similar task in Asia.

    2. Regional Network for Agricultural Machinery (RNAM) (

    The Regional Network for Agricultural Machinery (RNAM) was established in 1977 and one of its activities was the "Development and adaptation of agricultural and agro-related machinery through the exchange of information and hardware (prototypes, designs and drawings)"

    3. United Nations Asian and Pacific Centre for Agricultural Engineering and Machinery (

    RNAM ceased operations because of a lack of international funding and support but has been replaced by UNAPCAEM whose objectives are "To enhance capacity building of our member countries through knowledge networking and information sharing."

    The FAO undertook an enormous amount of work in agricultural engineering in the 1960s until the late 1990s and an example is given below.

    4. FAO Conservation Technology ( The database concentrates only on equipment and machinery for manual, animal or motorized operation which has been specially designed for the needs of Conservation Agriculture.

    5. Worldwide Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Directory (

    (Continues on the next comment)
  • 2 Comments sorted by

  • In 1997 I established this directory and information source which aimed to allow all agricultural machinery manufacturers, small, medium and large, to reach their potential customers at the district, national, regional and global levels, without distinction.
    The scope of the inclusion can be seen in the Country Index ( where Alim Industries in Bangladesh ( has equal status with the multinational John Deere in the USA (

    The directory clearly has significant limitations but it was an honest attempt to provide access to appropriate technology to all and to provide a shop window for all those small manufacturers in the developing world who truly have the amazing skills and products that Marcin informs us do not exist.
  • i was also interested to see this video as i was able to read it was interesting to watch but i must agree with you though as i do not entirely agree with the idea of Marcin although he is very knowledgeable and much more expert than me and i must say that he did present such good points and arguments as can indeed stike a lot of issues and ideas which is why we are in constant evolution then, now and in the future.

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