FG inaugurates tractorisation programme to enhance food security
The Federal Government has inaugurated the Tractorisation programme to encourage mechanised farming, boost food and nutrition security and create more jobs for Nigerian youths.
A statement issued by Ezeaja Ikemefuna, Chief Information Officer in the ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday, said this would fast track development in the agricultural sector.
Speaking at the event, in Kaduna State, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said that the Ministry was in collaboration with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and manufacturers’ representatives to make the project a success.
He said they have also agreed to support the programme by making tractors with implements available to farmers at a concessionary deferred payment terms.
The Minister said that Nigerian farmers were expected to make a 40 per cent down payment while the balance of 60 per cent would spread over a period of three years.
Abubakar said that the Ministry would acquire 10,000 units of Tractors with Implements and 50,000 units of assorted equipment to kick start the programme.
He said that the vital role of agriculture in the Nigerian economy makes it necessary for the sector to be re-invigorated through tractor acquisition in order to achieve food and nutrition security.
Abubakar said that it would lead to improved quantity and quality of food per person, reduce drudgery of farmers as well as increase productivity.
He said that Nigeria and Brazil entered into Bilateral Agreement under the More Food International Programme (MFIP) of Brazil which culminated in kind loan of 1.2 billion dollars.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, said that the programme would move agriculture from subsistence to commercial business venture.
He said it would also increase the economy of most farmers, drive development in the agrarian communities, encourage youth participation and engagement among others.
Umakhihe was represented by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Mr Abubakar Abdullahi.
Earlier, the Managing Director, BOA, Alhaji Alwan Hassan, said that the status of Agricultural Mechanisation in the country was very low.
He said it was estimated at 0.027hp/ha as against UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Recommendation of 1.5hp/ha.
Hassan said that the success of agricultural production largely depended on the level of mechanisation.
The Chairman, Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kaduna Chapter, Alhaji Iliyasu Muazu, solicited for more support to ensure that farmers benefit from the programme across the 774 Local Government Areas.