In a determined effort to improve agricultural mechanisation, a total of six hundred and thirty-two local government areas will be linked up with Federal Government’s tractorisation service with effect from January next year.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammed Sabo Nanono, gave this information at the Commissioning ceremony of the Agribusiness Incubation Centre of Federal University Dutse on Monday.
Nanono maintained that lack of agricultural mechanisation is responsible for low yield experienced by our farming community. This deficiency, he said, is responsible for our inability to fully utilise the over eighty-four to ninety-two million hectares land endowment in Nigeria.
The Minister expressed further concern that presently farmers only realise 1.2 to 1.6 tons per hectare, which he observed is very inadequate if we are to succeed in feeding the two hundred million million Nigerian populace that accounts for about thirty-five per cent of the total arable land on the continent of Africa.
Africa, he disclosed, in a statement by Ahmed Aminu his Technical Assistant has sixty-five per cent of global arable land.
He decried the fact that it is a big shame that there are only seven functional tractors per a hundred kilometre square in Nigeria as opposed to what obtains in Kenya where they have at least twenty seven tractors per every one hundred square kilometres.
For Nigeria to match what obtains in Kenya, with lesser population, the Minister said Nigeria needs to procure sixty thousand more tractors than what is available today.
Minister Sabo Nanono said the Federal government feels obliged to boost agricultural productivity not only to meet domestic needs but also to be able to cope with exporting food items to our neighbours whether knowingly or inadvertently.
The tractorisation drive, according to the Minister, is aimed at boosting agricultural productivity in order to lift the maximum number of Nigerians from the age-old drudgery as well as lifting as many citizens away from poverty as possible especially the teeming youths.
The Agribusiness Incubation Centre commissioned at Federal University Dutse is a technology-driven facility which will serve as a centre of excellence to improve rice and other commodities value chain as would benefit producers, processors, marketers and users of agricultural products.