Imported Farm Inputs: The National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM) said that it had completed arrangements to outlaw the importation of some agricultural tools into the country. Taiwo Hassan looks into the workability of this initiative
Recap of Nigeria’s agric policies
When the Federal Government launched the Green Alternative: Agriculture Promotion Policy (2016-2020) in Abuja, in 2016, the idea was to ensure revolution of the country’s agricultural sector by unlocking its full potential through the creation of enhanced opportunities for private sector investment and ensuring additional steady inflows of foreign direct investment into the sector.
Arguably, one of the main pivotal roles of the Federal Government agric launching scheme was to ensure the enrichment of mechanized farming in the country in a bid to realize agricultural productivity and food security.
To begin with, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government was targeting a functional framework to fix the country’s ailing agriculture and economy.
Particularly, President Buhari has given his support for the interventions that could move agriculture forward and contribute to repositioning the economy as well as diversifying it away from over-reliance on oil.
However, this has led the administration to take up the challenge of boosting local production of food, as Nigeria reduce dependency on food imports, boost domestic food production, revive rural economy and expand export earnings.
In fact, with the huge agricultural potential of over 84 million hectares of land, abundant water bodies, particularly the various rivers, all-year-round favourable weather conditions, and a variety of agro-ecologies suitable for agriculture, Nigeria is well positioned to feed its population as well as produce for export.
Agric mechanized programme
Indeed, the Federal government is seriously considering the improvement of mechanized agricultural sector, for an end-to-end food solution to the masses, stemming from such laudable experiment on pocket-friendly assistance between the Governments of the Federation, banking industry and other well meaning bodies and institutions, to further enhance and implement the laudable agricultural mechanized programme for the nation’s improved food expansion and continued realization.
Particularly, the Federal Government’s laudable agric programme was freely executed to cushion the suffering of the teeming masses and its numerous job opportunities for its residents in order to promote effective peaceful coexistence and vibrant economy with other pocket-friendly products in food production at all times.
President Buhari assured the nation of its very mutual cooperation to provide continued improved food production at its pocket-friendly price, as well as such viable joint cooperation to adequately subsidize such farm inputs, to further enhance the much expected, improved mechanized agricultural production in the country.
Outlaw of imported farm inputs
In order to strengthen the country’s agro-allied and industrial sectors, NCAM revealed that it is set to ban the importation of foreign farm machinery into the country.
NCAM, which disclosed this in Minna, Niger State, last week, said the organisation would now emphasise the local production of the farming implements.
Speaking at the donation of some modern farming implements to agricultural cooperative societies in the state by the Director General of the Ilorin Kwara State-based organisation, Mr Jackson Babajide, said some of the farming tools imported into the country were becoming too difficult for rural farmers to use.
“We have discovered that farming methods and some implements are becoming very difficult for farmers in the rural communities. Part of our mandate is to discover and develop small scale equipment to reduce the burden of processing to the teeming farming population across the country looking at the areas of comparative advantage,” he said.
“The machines manufactured and fabricated by the centre are designed to withstand environmental hardship and could be maintained locally without any difficulty.”
He said it was as a result of the “remarkable achievements” of the organisation in the field of agricultural technology that the agency decided to embark on a tour of the six geo-political zones of the country to “showcase some of our works for interested farmers throughout the country and to reproduce them based on demand.”
In his address, Managing Director of the Niger State Agricultural Mechanisation Development Authority, Alhaji Sadiq Ibrahim, said the donation of the modern farming tools by NCAM was to encourage rural farming activities and interested large scale farming across the state.
Ibrahim appreciated the gesture of the NCAM for choosing Niger State among the beneficiaries of its technological products, assuring the firm that the state government would liaise and persuade farmers and other cooperative societies on the need to urgently adopt mechanised method of farming for rapid agricultural development in the state.
The farming tools distributed to the cooperative societies included rice planters and threshers among others.
The move by NCAM to outlaw imported agricultural farm machinery in the country would face resistance from global agricultural agencies who believe that Nigeria is yet to have the basic technological expertise to produce sophisticated farm inputs for food productivity.