Mechanised Farming: FG to Take Delivery of 500 Tractors in May

..as minister's complaints jolts tractor company ...orders WFP to stop open market purchase of grains

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The federal government says it is expecting to take delivery of 500 tractors assembled by the John Deere Group by May this year to improve mechanized farming in the country.

 The federal government had in November last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with John Deere for the supply of 2,000 tractors annually for the next five years. But after four months,  the tractors have not arrived in the country.

A visibly worried Minister of Agriculture and Food Security,  Senator Abubakar Kyari at a recent meeting with the management of the company, complained about the slow pace of work on the project, saying he had expected that by this month  (March) at least 500 of the tractors ought to have arrived in the country.

That concern raised by the Minister, meaning that it is no longer business as usual, appears to have jolted the company.

Though it is not clear if the company made new commitments to deliver on schedule,  the minister two weeks after, assured that John Deere would deliver 500 tractors by the end of May and the rest in September 2024.

 He also assured that the group will achieve the set target of 2,000 tractors yearly for the next five years as signed in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry.

Sen. Kyari who was speaking during a recent media chat in his office explained that to increase agricultural yields, there was a need for tractors, stressing that this was very important for growth in the agric sector.

The initiative, he said, is aimed at catalyzing farming activities and fortifying the nation’s food and nutrition security in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s emergency declaration on food security.

The Minister reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to improve food and nutrition security through mechanization, adding that the tractors would be accessible, available, and affordable for small, large-scale, and cooperative farmers across the country. 

In a related development, the minister disclosed that the federal government had procured 58,500 tons of milled rice from Rice Millers Association of Nigeria for stabilization of the market force  “what we did not want to do, was to get to market and purchase food stuff, we have appealed to World Food Programme  (WFP), which is a United Nations based Agency, not to make bulk purchase from the market so as not to exacerbate the food price inflation that we have now’’, the minister added.  

On the recently released fertilizer by the CBN to FMAFS, the Minister stated that the release of 2.15 million bags of assorted fertilizer ranging from NPK, UREA and SSP, worth over N100  Billion Naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Nigeria farmers was to enhance agricultural production.

He added that the apex Bank’s contribution would increase food production capabilities as well as encourage price stabilization in the agricultural sector.

He revealed that the ministry had received the handing over letter and would commence the distribution of the various assorted fertilizers as soon as locations where they are warehoused is made available to the ministry

He further assured that the donation would be judiciously utilized and delivered to the intended farmers  “as soon as we get the locations which I am sure are spread across the country, we will swing into action’’, the minister added.

 

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