The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD has announced a partnership deal 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.
Under the partnership, the S.M.A.R.T Model Mechanization Farm is a technologically driven agricultural project that offers integrated solutions for smallholder farmers; mechanized agriculture for improved yields; access to finance; reliability and technology/training; and designed to make mechanized farming available & affordable to farmers especially the smallholder farmer; who cannot afford to own tractors and other agricultural equipment, at affordable rates.
The partnership is expected to help encourage more youths’ participation in Agriculture; increase food production; boost job creation and promotes local content in agricultural mechanization through the establishment of training centres and spare parts assembly plants.
Speaking at the partnership meeting, President of John Deere-Africa – Mr. Mark Von Pentz 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”.
Hon. Minister, Chief Audu 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 willingness to invest in the country’s Agricultural sector. He emphasised the importance of ensuring high quality standard of equipment designed for the Nigerian farmer, taking into consideration the structure of the soil and climatic conditions.
The minister also stressed the need for training of local tractor operators in proper handling and routine maintenance; and to embed digital tracking systems in the equipment to curb unauthorised use and sustain equipment lifespan.