The Federal Government has signed an agreement with some Brazilian firms to establish tractors’ assembly plants in Nigeria.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja.
He said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, with the support of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had secured funding from the Islamic Bank to accelerate the process.
Adamu, who was a two-term governor of Nasarawa State, added that the plan was aimed at allocating at least 10 tractors to each of the 774 local government areas of the country.
He also said that a service centre would be established in all the council areas where young people would be trained on how to handle the tractors and how to carry out some basic maintenance on the equipment.
He said, “Because of the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to boost food production through agriculture, the Federal Ministry of agriculture has come up with a programme to make tractors available to all farmers in Nigeria.
“By this programme, some Brazilian firms are being contacted to come to Nigeria with support from Islamic Bank so that the companies would bring into Nigeria, completely knocked down parts of tractors which would be assembled in Nigeria.
“Assembly plants for the tractors would be cited in Nigeria. There will be service centres in each of the 774 local government areas in the country.
“Each centre will oversee the number of tractors that are allocated to each local government and there would be at least 10 in each local government area.
“There will also be training of the youths on how to handle the tractors and the basic maintenance of the equipment.
“It is hoped that once we are done with the installation in the 774 LGAs, it will give a new lease of life to agriculture and the young men and women will be the major beneficiaries because it would provide job opportunities.”
Adamu also stressed the need for farmers to add value to their crops by investing in techniques that would enable them to preserve their produce.
He said, “Every crop has a value chain which is what you do to preserve it and add value to it from the day it is harvested up to the time it goes to the table if it is a food crop or up to the time it goes to the factory if it is an industrial crop.
“Just like mechanisation, preservation is still at a preliminary stage. What the government is talking about now is the issue of value addition to get farmers to appreciate the fact that they have to add value.”