By Olayinka Owolewa
Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara on Wednesday inaugurated 15 new tractors and several modern farm implements to boost food production in the state.
The measure would effectively give bite to the mechanisation component of the recently launched state agricultural transformation plan.
AbdulRazaq said mechanisation is key for the success of the crop production, pillar of the agric blueprint.
He said his administration had kickstarted the implementation with the recent flag off of farm inputs subsidy scheme which gave at least 10,000 farmers access to improved seedlings, fertilisers and chemicals at half the market price.
The purchase of new tractors and implements is another milestone as the administration did not inherit any functional tractor when it came to office in 2019, AbdulRazaq noted at the event attended by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi.
“Today’s commissioning of 15 new tractors and implements flags off the mechanisation component of the agric transformation plan.
“I must mention, for the record, that our administration did not inherit any functional tractor in 2019. This step speaks to our seriousness to truly transform how we farm and put Kwara on the map of agribusiness,” the governor said.
“The objective of our mechanisation programme is to ensure increased output of higher value products. It will also eliminate hardship associated with agricultural production powered by human labour.
“This initiative has been designed to provide mechanisation services for smallholder and commercial farmers in the state.
“This is just the first in the series of our mechanisation initiative. We would be acquiring more tractors and other sophisticated equipment like combined harvesters, planters, boom sprayer and others to support our farmers and boost production.
“This will totally transform the way crop production is carried out in Kwara, and ensure that mechanisation becomes the norm for all farmers in the state,” he said.
According to him, the focus of the transformation plan is “to achieve food security, sustainable growth, and create jobs”.
Other implements launched included ploughs, harrows, ridgers and a mobile workshop to properly manage the machines.
Speaker of the state House or Assembly, Mr Yakubu Salihu, pointed out that the administration has committed so much resources to support smallholder farmers.
“Our farmers at the grassroots can tell the difference and we are really grateful to the Governor for the efforts,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary, state Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hajia Maryam Nurudeen, explained that the administration procured the cost-efficient and adaptable machineries to enhance the mechanisation programme with a view to advancing commercial agriculture in the state.
“Today’s event marks the beginning of the second phase of the implementation of the State’s Agricultural Transformation Plan which is coming two weeks after the flag off of the Agricultural Input Subsidy Scheme.
“This programme could not have come at a better time when the rains are beginning to establish and our farmers are returning to their various farms in readiness for preparation,” she said.
Nurudeen assured residents that ordinary small scale farmers would reap the benefits of mechanised farming to scale up food production in the state with huge effect on efficiency of farmers as well as the quality and quantity of their produce.
Representative of All Farmers Association of Nigeria in the state, Alhaji Mahmud Bello, said: “All your administration’s supports are helpful to farming activities in the state. We are grateful for your numerous interventions in the sector.” (NAN)