FAO Agricultural and Food Engineering Technical Reports

Consultative meeting on a mechanization strategy: new models for sustainable agricultural mechanization in sub-Saharan Africa. Nairobi, Kenya, Nov/Dec 2016

No 3. Farm power and mechanization for small farms in sub-Saharan Africa 2006. Co-authored by Josef Kienzle, the report examines the importance of, and options for, mechanization for smallholder farmers in the region. English.

No 5. Addressing the challenges facing agricultural mechanization input supply and farm product processing 2007. Edited proceedings of a workshop held during a CIGR Agricultural Engineering World Congress. They were edited in collaboration with Josef Kienzle, Roberto Cuevas and Gavin Wall. English, Español, Français.

No 7. Farm equipment supply chains. Guidelines for policy makers and service providers: experiences from Kenya, Pakistan and Brazil 2009. Co-authored by Josef Kienzle, this publication examines the problems of supply chains for agricultural equipment. English.

No 8. Investment in agricultural mechanization in Africa 2011. Conclusions and recommendations of a round table meeting of experts. John E Ashburner and Josef Kienzle. English.
Section 6.2. South-South technology supply and transfer: experiences from East Africa and Brazil. pp 63-66. Brian G Sims and Josef Kienzle.

Testing and evaluation of agricultural machinery and equipment: Principles and practices FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin 110, 1994. A technical bulletin giving detailed test procedures for a range of agricultural machines. English and Español. Contents pages. Full text (English only).


Sustainable agricultural mechanization and commercialization for widespread adoption of conservaton agriculture systems in Africa. Josef Kienzle, Brian Sims and Weldone Mutai. pp382-401. In: Conservation agriculture in Africa: Climate smart agriculture. Saidi Mkomwa and Amir Kassam (eds). CAB International, Wallingford, UK & Boston, USA. 2022

Advances in conservation agriculture. Volume 1: systems and science. Chapter: The status of mechanization in CA systems. de Araujo, Augusto Guilherme; Sims, Brian; Desboilles, Jack, et al. 69 p. 2020. Burleigh Dodds, Cambridge, UK

Hire services as a business enterprise. A training manual for small-scale mechanization service providers. 2018. Brian Sims, David Kahan, Joseph Mpagalile, Martin Hilmi, Santiago Santos Valle. 127p. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Rome, Italy.

Conservation agriculture for Africa: building resilient farming systems in a changing climate. 2017. CAB International, Wallingford, UK. Chapter 11: Mechanization of smallholder conservation agriculture: contributing resilience to precarious systems. Brian Sims, Josef Kienzle, Saidi Mkomwa, Theodor Friedrich and Amir Kassam. pp 183-213.

The 25 years of the Club of Bologna: evolution and prospects of agricultural mechanization in the world. 2016. FederUnacoma (National Federation of Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers). Chapter 8: Agricultural mechanization in Africa. Bassam Snobar, Brian Sims, Josef Kienzle and Joseph Mpagalile. pp 154-173.

Agricultural mechanization: a key input for sub-Saharan African smallholders. Brian Sims, Martin Hilmi & Josef Kienzle. FAO, 2016. Integrated crop management 23: 44pp.

Conservation agriculture: a weapon in the fight against forest destruction. In: Helga Rainer, Alison White & Annette Lanjou (eds), 2015. State of the Apes: industrial agriculture and ape conservation. Arcus Foundation, Cambridge University press. p23. Web version

Forest management and conservation agriculture. Experiences of smallholder farmers in eastern Paraguay. 2013. Rome. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Published as Vol. 18 of Integrated Crop Management by the Plant Production and Protection Division. 192p. My principal contribution was to translate this book from the Paraguayan Spanish.

Mechanization for rural development: a review of patterns and progress from around the world. 2013. Rome. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Published as Vol. 20 of Integrated Crop Management by the Plant Production and Protection Division. 336p. I undertook a leading role in editing this book (and also contributed a chapter on agricultural machinery manufacture and supply).

Conservation Agriculture: A manual for farmers and extension workers in Africa. 2005. IIRR & ACT. This manual is the product of a 'writeshop' held in Kenya in 2005. My principal input was into Chapter 3 on field preparation and planting. English. Contents pages Full text

Animal traction in Cuba. 2003. RECTA. Co-edited with Paul Starkey, this is a collection of contributions by authors from diverse institutions and covers the whole island. English and Español.

Elementos de diseño del tractor y herramientas de labranza. 1984. Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura, San José, Costa Rica. Co-authored with John Ashburner this is a basic text book on design parameters for tractors and agricultural implements. Español. Contents pages

Mecanización para el pequeño agricultor. 1987. Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales y Agropecuarias, Mexico. A compilation of seven years' work of a farm mechanization research unit established with the Mexican agriculture, forestry and livestock research institute. Español Contents, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12

Explaining the finances of machinery ownership Talking about Money No.3 FAO 2009. One of a series of booklets explaining financial concepts for smallholder farmers. The author (Jennifer Heney) based this title on a draft that I prepared and on subsequent discussions that we held. English

Hillsides Systems Guidelines for research on hillside farms: participatory technology development of soil and water conservation technologies. 1999. DFID. Compiled by Brian Sims, Robert Walle and Jim Ellis-Jones. A guide prepared in Bolivia as one of the outputs of a soil and water conservation project implemented with the San Simón University, Cochabamba. English. Contents pages, Chapters 1&2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5


FAO has been instrumental in the preparation of a series of Diversification Booklets which aim to raise awareness and provide information on opportunities for the creation and management of rural entrepreneurial investments and activities to increase the incomes and livelihoods of smallholder farm families. The latest with which I have been involved is:

Hire services by farmers for farmers FAO Diversification Booklet 19. 2011

A booklet on the evolution of conservation agriculture mechanization has been written as a joint IAPAR (Paraná State Agricultural Research Institute, Brazil) / FAO publication. I was involved on the FAO side from the start of the project and had a major input into the English translation:

No-till agriculture in southern Brazil: factors that facilitated the evolution of the system and the development of the mechanization of conservation farming. 2012. Ruy Casâo Junior, Augusto Guilherme de Araújo and Rafael Fuentes Llanillo

Conference Papers and Articles

Improving nutrition for the World's neediest people. Invited article for ASABE's Resource journal for November/December 2019. Resource 26(6):21-22

Sustainable weed management for conservation agriculture: options for smallholder farmers. Agriculture 2018, 8(8): 118 (20 pp)

Promoting smallholder adoption of conservation agriculture through mechanization services. Agriculture 2017, 7(64): 22 pp

Sustainable agricultural mechanization for smallholders: what is it and how can we implement it? Agriculture 2017, 7(50): 21 pp

Mechanization for sustainable production: the outlook for smallholder farmers. Invited article for ASABE's Resource journal for November/December 2016. Resource 23(6):5-7

Conserving biodiversity: the Allerton Project's approach to sustainable food production (a visit report) 2016

Making mechanization accessible to smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Environments 2016, 3(11):18 pp

Rural mechanization: where are we now, and where should we be going? 2015. Rural21 49(2):6-9

Mechanization of conservation agriculture for smallholders: issues and options for sustainable intensification. Environments 2015, 2:139-166.

Re-examining appropriate mechanization in Eastern and Southern Africa: two-wheel tractors, conservation agriculture, and private sector involvement. Frédéric Baudron, Brian Sims, Scott Justice, David Kahan, Richard Rose, Saidi Mkomwa, Pascal Kaumbutho, John Sari et al. Food Security 7(3):889-904. August 2015.

Development of the CA equipment industry in sub-Saharan Africa. Brian Sims, Christian Thierfelder, Josef Kienzle, Theodor Friedrich & Amir Kassam. Applied Engng in Agriculture 2015, 28(6):1-11.

Strategies for a sustainable intensification of agricultural production in Africa. Josef Kienzle and Brian Sims. Open Meeting of the Club of Bologna, Milan, Italy, September 2015.

Organic farming and agroforestry in the Fens (a visit report) 2014

Mechanization of Conservation Agriculture in Zambia: lessons learnt and future directions. Brian Sims, James Breen & Sina Luchen. (Tuesday 24 June). VI World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. Winnipeg, Canada. 22-25 June 2014. (Full paper)

Renewable energy: time to get serious. Landwards, 69(2):18-19

Labor saving technologies for smallholder farms. Impatient Optimists, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Nov 2013.

Development of mechanization options for smallholder farmers: examples of local manufacturing opportunities for sub-Saharan Africa. International Conference of Agricultural Engineering. Brian Sims, Akhtar Bhatti, Saidi Mkomwa & Josef Kienzle. CIGR-AgEng2012. Special Parallel Conference 08: Creating a competitive edge through agricultural mechanization and post-harvest technology in developing countries. Valencia, Spain, 8-12 June 2012

Farm power and conservation agriculture: the potential for two-wheel tractors in sub-Saharan Africa. Landwards, 67(3):14-17

Some advances in mechanization options for Conservation Agriculture systems: Reflections from the V World Congress of Conservation Agriculture, Brisbane, Australia. Brian Sims. September 2011. English

Development of the CA equipment industry in sub-Saharan Africa. Brian Sims, Christian Thierfelder, Josef Kienzle, Theodor Friedrich & Amir Kassam. V World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. September 2011, Brisbane, Australia. English (subsequently published by ASABE): Applied Engineering in Agriculture 28(6):813-823

Mechanizing Sustainable Crop Production Intensification in Developing Countries – scaling conservation agriculture. Theodor Friedrich, Josef Kienzle, Brian Sims & Amir Kassam. Paper presented at AgEng 2010 Conference, September 2010, Clermont-Ferrand, France. English

Tecnología apropiada para una agricultura sustentable. Brian Sims. Paper presented at the VI Congreso Internacional de Ingeniería Agrícola. January 2010, Chile. Español

Agroforestry and Conservation Agriculture: Complementary practices for sustainable development. Brian Sims.Theodor Friedrich, Amir Kassam & Josef Kienzle. Paper presented at the II World Congress of Agroforestry. August 2009, Nairobi, Kenya. English

Policies and Institutions to promote the Development and Commercial Manufacture of Conservation Agriculture Equipment. Brian Sims, Peter Hobbs & Raj Gupta. Paper presented at IV World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. February 2009, New Delhi, India. English

Training in conservation agriculture equipment use: FAO’s experience in sub-Saharan Africa . Brian Sims & Josef Kienzle. Paper presented at the III World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. October 2005, Nairobi, Kenya. English

Linking Production, Livelihoods and Conservation Proceedings of the III World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. October 2005, Nairobi, Kenya. These proceedings are the fruit of a 'writeshop' held at the ACT secretariat in Nairobi in November 2008. Kurt Steiner (GTZ) and I (amongst others) played a key role in the elaboration of the basic material. English

Farming systems: future challenges for the use of draught animals in agricultural development with emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. Jim-Ellis-Jones, Dave O'Neill, Charlie Riches & Brian Sims. 2005. Annals of Arid Zone 4(3&4):277-296.

Draft animal power for soil and water conservation in the Bolivian valleys. Brian Sims. Invited overview paper. CIGR Journal of Scientific Research and Development 5: 12 pp. June 2003

El potencial de métodos de agricultura de precisión para mejorar la producción de legumbres de campo. Paul Miller and Brian Sims, 2003. Expoagro Sinaloa, Mexico. Enero de 2003.

Participatory research: a set of tools but not the key to the universe. Brian Sims & Jeffrey Bentley, 2002. Culture and Agriculture 24 (1): 34-40. English

An engineering perspective on sustainable smallholder farming in developing countries. Steve Twomlow, Dave O'Neill, Brian Sims, Jim Ellis-Jones & Tahseen Jafrey, 2002. Biosystems Engineering 81(3):355-362. English

The role of draft animal power in soil and water conservation. Brian Sims and David O'Neill. I World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. Madrid, Spain, 1-5 October 2001. pp12--125

Comparative study of influence of animal traction and light tractors on soil compaction in Cuba. Félix Ponce C., Raymundo Vento, T., Brian Sims. 2000. Agricultural Mechanization in Asia, Africa and Latin America 31(3):19-23

Fertility gradients in naturally formed terraces on Honduran hillside farms. 1999. Robert Walle and Brian Sims. Agron J. 91(2):350-353. English

Biophysical aspects of vegetative soil and water conservation practices in the inter-Andean valleys of Bolivia. Brian Sims, Félix Rodríguez, Miguel Eid & Tatiana Espinoza, 1999. Mountain Research and Development 19(4):282-291. English

Natural terrace formation through vegetative barriers on hillside farms in Honduras. 1998. Robert J Walle & Brian Sims. American Journal of Alternative Agriculture 13(2):79-81

Availability and use of work animals in the middle Andean hill-farming systems of Bolivia. 1999. Jeroen Dijkman, Brian Sims & Leonardo Zambrana. Livestock Research for Rural Development 11(2):1-10

On-farm evaluation of soil and water conservation practices on hillsides in Mexico, Nicaragua and Honduras. 1996. Brian Sims, Jim Ellis-Jones, Jesus Uresti & Nestor Francisco. Agricultural mechanization in Asia, Africa and Latin America 27(2):18-24

Small-holder farming under fire: agricultural engineering options for the future. 1996. Brian Sims. Science, Technology and Development 14(1):70-19

Ergonomic evaluation of hand-hoes for hillside weeding and soil preparation in Honduras. 1998. Ceiba (Zamorano, Honduras) 39(2):183-189

Cooperatives as a solution to small farm mechanization problems in Cuba.1993. Brian Sims, Raymundo Vento, Alberto Rivera. Agricultural mechanization in Asia, Africa and Latin America 24(4):63-68&72

Animal-drawn implements for small farmers in Mexico. 1988. Brian Sims, Bruce Johnston, Alan Olmstead, Sergio Jácome M. Food Research Institute Studies 21(1):69-95