By Doris Esa
The Federal Government on Monday in Abuja, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with John Deere, Asia (Singapore) Ltd. on agricultural mechanisation to enhance food security.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that John Deere Ltd. is a tractor manufacturing company.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari said the partnership would enhance Nigerian farmers access to affordable inputs.
“This is purely a partnership for the off take for the farmers not the government off taking.
”What the government is supposed to do is to have an environment that is very conducive for John Deere to sell the tractors to the farmers,” he said.
He said that the local production target is 2,000 tractors yearly to boost food production.
”The minimum is 2,000 tractors per year for five years as the demand increases,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria is grossly under mechanised, saying that a country with 70 million hectares of land is grossly inadequate.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Ernest Umakhihe described the MoU as a plus for the agricultural sector.
”They (company) have purposed to invest in Nigeria to produce tractors for our farmers,” he said.
Earlier, the Vice-President of John Deere Ltd. Mr Jason Braintley said the partnership was critical for raising yield and food security as well as raising farm incomes.
”So we’re very excited about that. We’re looking forward to take it to the next step as we move to implementation,” he said.
Braintley said that the company has been active in Nigeria for decades, saying ”we’ve got tractors running all the way from North to South”.
In a related development, Kyari said the Agriculture and Food Security Summit, and the National Council on Agriculture and Food Security meeting scheduled to hold in November has been postponed.
He announced this to newsmen at the end of the signing of the MoU between the ministry and John Deere.
Kyari said the postponement was necessitated by the need to proceed without hitches on the take-off of the Dry Season Wheat Farming, under the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro – Pocket Programme (NAGS-AP).
He said that new dates for the food summit and the council meeting would be communicated to stakeholders in due course.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Joseph Edeh