The drive by the Federal Government for Nigeria to attainfood sufficiency may still be a mirage after all unless drastic measures aretaken to overturn the current trends. This is because Nigeria is still far fromthe global standard in terms of the number of tractors per land area thatfarmers own.
This revelation was made by Mr. Friday Ali of the GreenhouseUnit of the Agriculture Division of Dizengoff Group Nigeria while speaking onthe Monthly Forum of the Nigerian Association of Agricultural Journalists(NAAJ) in partnership with Nigerian Breweries Plc in Lagos Thursday.
Ali noted that countries like the United States of America(USA) and India were far ahead of Nigeria adding that while the USA was havinga record of 250 tractors per one thousand square kilometres, Nigeria was havingless than 50 tractors per one thousand square kilometres which he said was afar cry from the Africa standard.
According to him,”With what we are projecting there (onprojector), you will discover that Nigeria is still very far from the globalstandard in terms of the number of tractors per land area that farmers own. Wecan see that while countries like USA are having a record of 250 tractors perone thousand square kilometres, Nigeria is still far below 50 tractors per onethousand square kilometres. That is a wide gap, even India is ahead of us. Weare even below the Africa standard”.
While admitting that Nigeria still have a long way to go, hehowever reminded the journalists that the onus lie on them to educate thefarmers through their reportage and create awareness on what mechanizationcould do for the nation’s agricultural sector.
“I don’t need to start lecturing us today on the use oftractors and implements on our farms in terms of farm power, in terms ofhaulage, tillage, planting, spraying , a lot of things that tractors andimplements can do for our farmers.
“So, if we want to take our place rightly in Africa, we mustnot rest on our oars, we must be on our toes to create this awareness withStates and Federal Governments using whatever available means that there isthrough cooperatives, organizing farmers in clusters. We know it may bedifficult for an average farmer to own the tractor and actually, if you mustget the tractor, there must be minimum hectare for you to use those tractorsefficiently so that they don’t lie fallow.
“So, we are far below global standard and in Dizengoff, withwhat we are doing before now, we will still continue to play our role by makingquality tractors, good quality implements and good after sale services and withthe spare parts available at the right time for our farmers to be helped inmechanizing their operations on the farm”, he added.
Ali further pointed out that if Nigeria must move forward inthe agricultural sector, her people must move away from hoe and cutlass agricultureto mechanized agriculture saying that for Nigerian farmers to be fullymechanized, they need to have access to good tractors that would deliver aswell as good implements that would deliver.
He continued,”Talking about agriculture, it is not all abouttilling the land, processing, we can also have our crop protection mechanized.Of what use is it to farmers who laboured, tilled the land and he doesn’t havethe right range of equipment to use in crop protection? Over the years, as Imentioned, we have been involved in the sector making the right equipment forfarmers for crop protection.
“Talking about tractors and implements, over a period ofthree, four, five years, we have been able to sell well over 300 units oftractors per annum and I can tell you that over 90% of these tractors from ourrecords are still functional and delivering service to the farmers”.