By Ikenna Uwadileke
The National Agricultural Mechanize Cooperative Society (NAMCS) on Wednesday in Abuja, says it plans to engage 15 million farmers and deploy 27, 000 tractors in 528 local government areas to boost mechanised farming in Nigeria.
The National President of NAMCS, Dr Aliyu Waziri, disclosed this during a meeting between officials of the society and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI).
Waziri said that it was part of the society’s `Agro Revolution Initiative’ designed to stimulate the agricultural sector for sustainable economic growth.
According to him, the initiative has five programmes designed to provide mechanized agro – extension services to rural farmers, empower women to nurture birds for wealth and establish skills acquisition programme for farmers.
Others are affordable housing scheme for rural farmers and the promotion of Nigeria’s agro market space.
“At the Nigeria Mechanised agro extension service centres, we shall deploy 50 tractors and employ 150 youths as agro extension staff per local government area.
“We shall distribute farm tools such as wheel barrow, spraying machine, safety boots, seedlings, agro chemicals and fertilizer to farmers.
“In addition, we will profile and engage 25,000 farmers per LGA as well as provide technical support to farmers and offtake the farm produce through organised off takers market,’’ Waziri said.
He said that the scheme would cover the production of 10 commodities: rice, beans, maize, groundnut, cotton, soya beans, yam, cassava, ginger and millet.
Waziri solicited support of the Federal Government to facilitate the stimulus and subsidy packages for farmers to access the services and assist agro – produce exporters to increase their capacity to offtake.
While explaining that the scheme would provide 20 million jobs, he said it would also reduce rural-urban migration, poverty and change Nigeria’s status from importing to export driven nation.
“With the huge potential of the agricultural sector on one hand and all the socio economic challenges on the other hand, Nigeria has no business importing food,” Waziri said.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), Adebayo Adeniyi, reiterated the ministry’s commitment to support efforts to stimulate and unlock the potential of agricultural sector through mechanization.
Represented by Mr Suleiman Audu, Director, Commodities and Export Department, FMITI, the minister said there was no better time to diversify the country’s economy towards the non-oil sector and reposition it towards sustainable growth.
According to Adeniyi, the ministry is committed to ensuring that an enabling environment is created for the private sector to thrive.
He assured of the ministry’s readiness to partner with the society in the areas of trade and certification.
“In this regard, the ministry is ready to partner with NAMCS in the promotion of agricultural commodities and the value chain,’’ Adeniyi said.
He also expressed optimism that the meeting would provide robust strategies for the development of the nation’s agricultural commodities sub sector.
On his part, Mr Vyacheslav Bril, Ambassador of Belarus to Nigeria, urged Nigeria to take advantage of the huge potential in agriculture to grow its economy.
“I believe a team of professionals with deep experience will lead the project to succeed,” Bril said.
He expressed the readiness of Belarus to assist Nigeria in establishing tractor assembling plant. (NAN)