Despite the country’s array of fertile land, billions of naira are spent yearly on food importation, due to failure to utilise its abundant inherent resources.
The Executive Director, National Center for Agricultural Mechanization (NCAM), Dr. Muideen Kasali, who disclosed this during the Field Day and Interactive Session organised by NCAM for stakeholders in the Southeast region, held at the Abia State Agricultural Development Programme premises, Umuahia, called for the deployment of appropriate technologies to the farms to increase food production.
Kasali, who noted that NCAM would soon undertake a national survey on mechanisation, aimed at revolutionalising rice farming in Abia State, stressed the need to increase the present contribution of agriculture to the national economy, which he put at 22 per cent.
increase the sector’s productivity, he said agriculture must be mechanised with landmass and productivity per hectare increased by deploying appropriate technologies to the farm.
“It is now time to apply technologies to increase productivity. Introduction of agricultural mechanisation technologies is the best way to increase productivity because the technologies will reduce drudgery, improve timelines of operation, increase productivity per hectare and thus improve the farmers socio-economy,” he stated.
According to him, NCAM was mandated to provide indigenous and appropriate technologies for agriculture mechanisation, regulate importation of agric machineries into the country by testing their suitability to the local agricultural ecosystem, including the training of stakeholders in agricultural mechanisation.
The state Governor, Dr. Okezie lkpeazu, represented by his deputy, Dr. Ude Oko Chukwu, described the emergence of NCAM as very timely, especially now that the country is diversifying its revenue from oil to agriculture, stressing that Nigeria can now begin to add value to their products, such as cocoa and Palm oil in order to earn higher foreign exchange.