The Federal Government has disclosed plans to establish Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises (AEHEs) across the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who disclosed the initiative recently in Abuja when he hosted John Deere/NAMEL Tractors Manufacturing Company, said, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture ”sees this scheme as solution to the challenges of mechanisation in Nigerian Agricultural sector;” observing that there is no country in Africa that has perfected agriculture and solve farming challenges without adopting of Mechanisation in its farming production.
The Minister who was full of praise for the tractor manufacturers for investing their hope in the future of the country said in the next 10 to 15 years, the country should be aiming at deployment of a million tractors in the country.
According to the Minister, the short term goals of the establishment of the AEHEs in the next five years is to help deploy over 40,000 other mechanized equipment for land preparation, planting, weeding, harvest/threshing, farm transportation and other simple irrigation activities across the country.
He also made it known that aside from targeting mechanization of 9.450million hectares of land, the country hopes to attain additional 37.8million MT of food production, and also create additional 150,000 indirect jobs through liberal mechanization activities annually.
Chief Audu Ogbeh also explained that ultimately the goal is to ensure that small holder farmers have access to available, accessible and affordable farm gate mechanisation services for optimum yield per hectare.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Bukar Hassan, remarked that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the three parties signifies another landmark for the country in its efforts at involving the private sector to drive the new agricultural initiative and reduce drastically the country’s continued reliance on oil.
Acting Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Engr. Chidi Izwah, announced that his Commission has issued provisional license to FMARD to drive this initiative with other partners under public-private partnership; believing that this will improve mechanization of agriculture in Nigeria.