The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh disclosed that the federal government is to introduce a new programme called “Agriculture Implement and Mechanization Scheme (AIMS)” as a substitute to Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES).
The Minister made the disclosure during the unveiling of the SMART Model Farm Site by John Deere Tractors Manufacturing Company at Gwagwalada Local Government Area in Abuja.
Ogbeh said in a statement issued on Friday that the scheme can no longer be sustained, because most State Governors failed to comply with the 25% counterpart fund for their farmers resulting in the accumulation of debt to Government.
He said the programme would focus on Agricultural Mechanization and Provision of Farm Implement based on Public Private Partnership (PPP) that will assist the big and smallholder farmers to have access to hire and own tractors.
He explained that sophisticated tractors will be acquired from John Deere International, these tractors he said are capable of working for 15 hours in the farm.
The Minister appreciated John Deere International and the team of technical experts from the Ministry for their initiative at taking agricultural mechanization to Nigerian farmers, saying that the acquisition of tractors would go a long way in increasing productivity and reduce the risk of manual farming, thereby making farming attractive to Nigerian youth.
The Managing Director of John Deere Tractors Manufacturing Company, Jason Brantley in his opening remarks said that the tractors have a very strong horse power and were designed to solve the problem of Nigeria farmers and increase the level of productivity in the nation’s agriculture sector, which will result in food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The director Federal Department of Agriculture in the Ministry, Mohammed Babandi, who was represented by the Director Agricultural Mechanization, Owolabi Olusegun disclosed that the Minister has been working tirelessly in search of partners that will supply tractors to Nigerian farmers and this prompted the Department to explore possible ways in both software and hardware in proffering solutions to myriad of problems facing Nigeria’s agriculture sector.
The chairman Association of Tractor Owners and Hiring Facility of Nigeria,(TOFAN) Danladi Garba disclosed that his association has been assisting Nigerian farmers across the six geopolitical zones in cultivating and harvesting with the few tractors at their disposal, saying that his association is ready to partner on this new initiative.