Multipurpose use of animals
The use of work animals began long before humankind started to practice agriculture and contributed greatly to the geographical expansion of ancient cultures. The use of animal power is now considered by many people to be archaic and inefficient, however; today, agricultural development is equated with the use of machines. But despite the more than 50 years spent promoting tractorization in developing countries, the development gap between highly industrialized, rich countries and those with weak, highly dependent economies has increased.
The oil crisis during the mid-1970s renewed some interest in the use of work animals. But to industrialists this technology remained of little interest, and in developing countries government services continued to consider it as a "last resort" technology, giving it very low priority. Most unfortunately. the few field projects that tried to promote better use of work animals usually followed a non-integrated implementation approach with overall farming activities that was inappropriate and that made opportunistic use of animals during a very reduced number of days per year. The results of such ill-conceived efforts were very discouraging.