Nigeria Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, flagged-off of the second phase of the Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise (AEHE), under the Mechanisation Intervention Programme (MIP), on Tuesday, at the National Centre For Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The Minister commended his “predecessor, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, now President of the African Development Bank AfDB), in repositioning agriculture to the present level. He has laid a good foundation for reforming the sector. However, much is still left to be achieved, as the agricultural sector has suffered neglect for over 30 years of oil discovery.”
Ogbeh said the time was past when agriculture was done distributing hoes, machetes, axes and ordinary and low yielding seeds to farmers.
The minister lamented “the low level of mechanisation limits the ability of our farmers to expand cultivated areas, perform timely farm operations and achieve economies of scale in increasing food production.”
He said the total number of tractors in the country is estimated at about 35,000, over 50 per cent of which have broken down due to the nature of our farm lands, lack of sustainable products’ sales, service and poor maintenance culture.”
The event in Ilorin was the flag-off of high powered 110hp to 200hp precision farming tractors and other 295 tractors, various harvest and post-harvest equipment required to set up additional 60 AEHE centres.”
According to Ogbeh, “through these 60 AEHE centres, we will have 2,000 direct jobs created for the unemployed youths; 100,000 hectares of land mechanised; 500,000 metric tons of food added to national production.”
Source: Guardian News