NIGERIA’S federal government is planning to import 60,000 broken-down tractors under its Agricultural Mechanisation Programme as part of an ambitious plan to diversify the economy and end the over-dependence on crude oil.
Reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Nigeria is feeling the pinch of the fall in crude oil demand as she is a mono-economy with over 90% of federal government revenue coming from petroleum product export receipts. In a bid to redress this imbalance, the federal government is looking to expand the agricultural sector in particular as part of a diversification programme.
Agriculture minister Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, said the tractors would ensure a paradigm shift from subsistence practice to commercial agro-industrial farming for food production. He added that their use would also ensure the procurement of agricultural processing plants, fertiliser production and enhance value chains, among other things.
Alhaji Nanono said: “This would address the challenge of feeding the nation’s growing population and achieving food sustainability, create jobs for the teeming Nigeria youths and boost the economy. The programme would also ensure a paradigm shift from subsistence practice to commercial agro-industrial farming for food production, procurement of agricultural processing plants, fertiliser production, enhance value chains, among others.”
He noted that mechanisation would enhance local technology evolution with over 600 private sector-driven service centres equipped with tractors, farming implements as well as storage and IT facilities. Adding that agricultural mechanisation revolves around the world, the minister said the programme would address the challenge of feeding the growing population and achieving food sustainability.
Alhaji Nanono also said that his ministry plans to increase the number of Nigeria’s agricultural extension workers to 75,000. It is not yet clear, however, where the broken down tractors will be assembled once imported into Nigeria.