By Sylvester Thompson
Propcom Mai-Karfi (PM), a market development programme funded by UkAid says Nigeria can fast track agricultural mechanisation and ensure food security if it resolves the tractor issue.
Mr Godson Ohuruogu, Senior Programme Manager of PM said this on Thursday in Lagos at an Agricultural Mechanisation Investment Road Show organised by Propcom Mai-Karfi and DFID.
He said the event was to bring together a stakeholders, investors, vendors, Mechanisation Service Providers (MSPs), farmer’s cooperatives etc, in order to look at the investment opportunities and the returns available.
Ohuruogu said the event was organised to increase the size of investment in the mechanisation sector in Nigeria especially within the tractor space where it had been in operation.
He disclosed that the number of tractors in Nigeria was nothing compared to the number of tractors that was needed for the country to attain `mechanised status’.
He said the limited number of tractors was not enough to meet the number of farmers who were yearning for tractors but could not get it.
“We have about 5,000 tractors in Nigeria which is too minimal compared to the return on investment which is huge,’’ he said.
Ohuruogu urged the private sector to take up the challenge of mechanisation and complement the efforts the government was making in agriculture.
He also said Nigeria has a population of about 190 million and 70 per cent are involved in agriculture.
“We have 70 million hectares of agricultural land but only 48 per cent under cultivation; seven tractors are available for every 10,000 hectares with 1.5 million needed in Nigeria,’’ he said
Ohuruogu also disclosed that since 2014, just 531 tractors had been financed through Propcom’s model, with 9.8 million pounds investment leveraged from the private sector.
He noted that 165,000 farmers had been reached through mechanisation services and out of this figure, 12.7 per cent of the farmers are female.
He said the event was scheduled for two days at two different locations, Abuja and Lagos.
One of the Mechanical Service Providers (MSPs), Mr Munza Ambima, Lead Hardware Engineer of a technology company, said the event was timely and could fast track the mechanisation process.
“This is the first time in the last three years I have been in this field where I have seen a gathering of the major stakeholders in the industry.
“It is the first time financial institutions, vendors, capitalists and investors come in to meet with people in the mechanisation industry,’’ he said.
Mr Sadiq Daware, National Chairman of North East Commodity Association (NECAS), said mechanisation was an important aspect of agriculture that could not be overemphasised.
He noted that Propcom Mai-Karfi had played a great role by creating awareness, linking small holder farmers with operators and helping them benefit from mechanisation services.
Mr Tiwalade Owuye of Traxi Continental Ltd predicted mechanisation growing significantly in Nigeria as more players utilised opportunities in the space.
Also, Mr Musa Samaila of Tractor Owners and Hiring Facilities Association of Nigeria (TOHFAN), said that at the end of the event, a lot of major players would come into the field.
“This will enhance mechanisation to make food security issue a reality in Nigeria.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event witnessed presentations on “Investment Opportunities and Enabling Environment for Investment in Agricultural Mechanisation’’ and presentations from operators in the tractor, agricultural machinery and equipment leasing business etc. (NAN)