THE Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has disclosed that the government is looking forward to changing the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers and agribusinesses in Nigeria through the Public Private partnership PPP for wealth creation and food security.
Chief Ogbeh gave this assurance in Abuja at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding MoU Among Nigerian Agricultural Mechanisation and Equipment Leasing Company (NAMEL) Tractor Owners and Hiring Facilities Association TOHFAN and Tractors Owners and operators Association TOOAN on mechanization to boost food security and increase productivity.
This is targeted at assisting the country towards delivery of mechanisation services to all farmers across the country.
The Minister who said the MoU is one of best and greatest innovations in agriculture, said the government will do everything possible to make the programme see the light of the day.
His words: “For over 20 years, the government had repeatedly made efforts to address the agricultural mechanization challenge in Nigeria, a development that affected the sector adversely.
“Number of tractors that is working in the country are not up to 7,000 and Nigeria need should be times 10 of what we have presently in the country for food security that we are clamouring for.
“The project will ensure effective delivery of the tractor which has been the challenges of farmer in the 774 local government areas of the
country through 2500 Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises to be established in the respective location,” he said.
Ogbeh said the project would be closely monitored as farm inputs were being distributed across the local government.
In his address, the private driven agricultural Mechanization programme Chief Executive of NAMEL, Dr. Ahmed Adekunle said the initiative is moving steadily towards the set goals of deploying 10,000 units of tractors and over 60,000 other machineries to establish a minimum of 2500 Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises AEHEs across all the 774 Local government.
“Nigerian will agree with me that the reason why our farmers are not adequately mechanized today due to lack of tractors and other farmers machineries, because the world equipment manufacturers are still manufacturing them in hundred of thousands and our inability as a country to achieve considerable progress in mechanization.”
He appealed to all financial institution to come for more collaboration toward the delivery of efficient, effective mechanization services across the country.
Also, in his Goodwill message, the chairman TOOAN Engr. Elesa Britus Yakubu explained that it is obvious that the need of Nigerian can not be meet through continuous use of old way of cultivation and there is need to moved from old way of cultivation to the mechanization farming in Nigeria to meet the demand of Nigeria as well as food security in the country.