The Hon Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has said that the Federal Government was to partner Brazilian government on the supply and distribution of 10,000 tractors to farmers across the country in order to fast track the mechanization of the Agricultural sector, improve production and boost economy.
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The development according to the Minister would enhance food self-sufficiency and create job opportunity for Nigerian youths.
The Minister gave this indication at the opening ceremony of Africa’s Agricultural machines and equipment Technology expo on industrializing Africa’s Agriculture through technology and innovation, held in Abuja recently.
He revealed that the purpose of the expo was to expose African Farmers to cost- effective farm machines , new farming technologies, to increase foreign direct investments, as well as create business among farm products, producers and processors.
This, the Minister noted, was in tandem with Agricultural Policy of the Government and a clarion call to bring succor to the drudgery nature of their farm practices in order to encourage the teeming youths to embrace the agricultural sector.
Abubakar further said that the expo was an avenue for exchange of cultural values which will attract needed capital into Africa’s farm sector. This he said, will come face to face with experts in Agricultural Engineering field such as farm power and machinery, irrigation [soil and water engineering], storage of Agricultural products on commercial quantity.
The minster pledged that the forum will go a long way to establish a knowledge and business sharing platform with a view to identifying a global investment opportunities and risk, adding that it will translate into an increased production and quality level of African farm harvest.
He further revealed that “the quest for food self- sufficiency cannot be achieved using the old method of rudimentary tools. He therefor urged farmers to grab the new technologies and innovations in order to do exploits in farm practices”.
Dr. Abubakar stated that the partnership with Brazilian counterparts would ensure the provision of 10,000 units of tractors,50,000 units of assorted implements and equipment for assembly in Nigeria , 142 turnkey factories for Agro Processing as well as training of the project beneficiaries for over a period of five years.
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Umahkike represented by the the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Engr Abdullahi Abubakar Garuba stated that the Expo was meant to expose Africa’s farmers to latest innovation in technology across the value chain.
He pointed out that “Agriculture in Nigeria contributed about 33% to Gross Domestic Product and engage a large number of our working force in farming”.
He added that Agricultural Expo will contribute to the advance processing of agricultural raw materials and promote the growth of agro-industrial section and export of food products that are made in Nigeria.
The Expo featured display of various Agricultural equipment by different agricultural and allied manufactures. ■