By Doris Esa
Local production of 2,000 tractors yearly will boost food production, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, said in Abuja on Friday.
It will also create jobs for farmers, especially women and youths and enhance food and nutrition security, he said in a statement issued by Mr Ezeaja Ikemefuna, Assistant Director of Information in the ministry.
The minister made the declaration when the Vice-President of John Deere Ltd. (a tractor manufacturing company), Mr Jason Braintley, paid him a courtesy visit.
Kyari noted that the visit was a follow-up to a meeting between Nigeria’s Vice-President Kashim Shettima and top officials of John Deere Ltd. at the Oct. 24 World Food Prize Foundation Day held in lowa, U.S.A.
He said the Nigerian government would not buy the tractors, but would provide the enabling environment to make them affordable by farmers on loan at low-interest rate so as to boost year-round farming.
The minister said farmers needed to form clusters or co-operatives that would buy the tractors to facilitate mechanised farming.
The famers’ clusters or cooperatives could pay for the tractors in instalments, he explained
In his remarks, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Aliyu Abudullahi, stressed the need to evaluate co-operatives and ascertain those requiring support to enable them to access the tractors when available.
He also emphasised the importance of identifying crops most suitable for mechanised farming.
Earlier, Braintley said the company was exploring the possibility of tractor hiring or acquisition or local production, backed with after-sales services, supply of genuine spare parts and training of operators and mechanics.
The tractors, he said, would have capacity ranging between 75 horsepower and 90 horsepower for use in different terrains. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Alli Hakeem