Energy for Field Operations in Developing Countries,
SILSOE COLL (ENGLAND)
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Oil prices have risen from 2 dollars per barrel in 1972 to over 30 dollars per barrel in 198283. After adjusting for inflation the 1972 price would be equivalent to about 14 dollars in 1982, so it can be seen that prices have more than doubled in real terms in ten years. The effect of such a price increase has been particularly severe in those developing countries having no oil supply sources of their own. Agricultural production of cash crops for export is very often an important source of foreign exchange for the purchase of fuel, and in many cases world prices of exported commodities have not increased substantially over the same period. Since agricultural production is an important aspect of the economy of most developing countries and usually involves a large proportion of the population in subsistence or cash crop agriculture, there is likely to be a continuing need for engine powered mechanization in the agricultural sector, using both large and small scale equipment. Irraditional hand and animal power sources overcome the fuel supply problem and should be the preferred alternatives where they are suitable, but due in part to the limited power available from these sources it is necessary to utilize field machinery in many situations. This paper identifies the stages of energy use associated with engine powered field equipment, and investigates the possibilities for energy reduction within the various stages.