By Lawrence Audu
In bid to enhancing food security for the citizenry, the Federal Government has began a partnership with Global Agricultural equipment manufacturers – John Deere Tractors and the Nigerian Agricultural Mechanization & Equipment Leasing Company – NAMEL to improve farmers’ access to mechanization and increase agricultural productivity.
This disclosure was made Wednesday in a meeting between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Management of John Deere Tractors and NAMEL Group, presided over by the Hon. Minister – Chief Audu Ogbeh, ahead of the official launch of the S.M.A.R.T Model Farm demonstration site, slated for Thursday, May 10th, 2018 in Gwagwalada, Abuja.
Speaking during the meeting, Chief Ogbeh described mechanization as a key strategy to attaining Nigeria’s target in food security and self sufficiency. The Minister welcomed the group to Nigeria and thanked them for their interest to invest in the country’s agric sector; harping on the importance of training local tractor operators and embedding digital tracking system to curb unauthorized use and increase equipment lifespan.
In his response, President, John Deere-Africa – Mark Von Pence said: “Nigeria is the next super power of Africa in terms of her economic potential and population growth projections, which both present an opportunity to grow as well as a challenge to feed the growing population. Nigeria is blessed with fertile land, good people, and a great climate to make things happen and put the country in prosperity. We are here to establish a meaningful presence and be part of your success story in Agricultural Mechanization”.
Under the partnership, the S.M.A.R.T Model Mechanization Farm will provide agricultural equipment hiring/leasing services to farmers especially smallholder farmers who cannot afford to own tractors and other agricultural equipment, at affordable rates and help train equipment operators and service providers.
The partnership is expected to help encourage more youths’ participation in Agriculture; increase food production; boost job creation and promote local content in agricultural mechanization through the establishment of training centers and a spare parts assembly plant.