The Lagos State chapter and South-West zone, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), has urged the Federal Government to fast-track the importation of tractors and other implements to ensure food security.
Dr Femi Oke, the Chairman, AFAN, Lagos State and South-West zone, said this in Lagos.
According to him, the speedy importation of the 10,000 tractors and other agricultural implements into the country will ensure increased productivity in that sector of the economy.
Oke said that the recent pronouncement by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, concerning the importation of the tractors had been dragging for too long.
He said that Nigeria required urgent steps to encourage mechanised farming to ensure food sufficiency.
“We have been hearing about the government’s resolve to import tractors for sometime before the new minister of agriculture came on board. We think, definitely, something better might come out of it this time. Some years’ back, during the tenure of the immediate past Minister of Agriculture, Malam Sabo Nanono, he said that tractors were going to be imported from Brazil and farmers would be able to access it.
“We were very happy then that the government was taking this huge step to boost food production. For so long, over two and a half years before he left office, nothing was heard of the tractors.
“But we think if the present minister of agriculture can fast-track the procurement of the tractors, definitely, it will help the farmers,” he said.
The association chairman also suggested that the tractors should be allocated to cluster areas, where farmers could easily access them.
He said that farmers were seriously in need of mechanised equipment to boost their productivity.
According to him, it is not every farmer that can afford a tractor because it is very expensive.
“The tractors will boost our food security as well as encourage farmers that are thinking of having one hectare to easily increase it to between five and 10 hectares.
“If we are able to get the tractors as promised, it will really help our farmers,” Oke said.
It was in the report that Abubakar had announced that Nigeria would partner with the Brazilian government on the supply and distribution of 10,000 tractors to farmers across the country.
The minister said that the move would fast-track the mechanisation of the country’s agricultural sector and boost economic development.
Abubakar said the partnership with their Brazilian counterparts would ensure the provision of 10,000 units of tractors, 50,000 units of assorted implements and equipment for assembly in Nigeria.
According to him, the collaboration also includes142 turnkey factories for agro-processing, as well as training of the project beneficiaries for a period of five years.