FG expresses discontent over delay in delivery of 2,000 tractors

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…Restates commitment to improve food security through Mechanisation

By Palma Ileye

Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security FMAFS, has expressed dissatisfaction over the delay in the delivery of 2,000 tractors to improve mechanised farming in Nigeria saying that efforts would be made to ensure that they were available to farmers in next few months.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, FMAFS, Sen Abubakar Kyari stated this during a Technical meeting with John Deere Group on Mechanisation at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja.

Kyari restated Government’s commitment to improve food security through Mechanisation adding that tractors would be made available to both Small and Large scale farmers to boost farming and achieve food security in the country.

He said, “The tractors will also go to Local Government for farmers to get at affordable cost. Also cooperatives will be included so that small farmers can have access to the tractors.

“Also the large scale farmers to would be engaged because they contribute to food security and growth of the sector and economy.”

Federal Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with John Deere in November 2023 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.

The Minister said that 500 of the tractors ought to have arrived in the country by now and wondered why the firm that is in charge has not been able to deliver.

He said, “By now the first set of the tractors ought to be delivered to meet up with promises made to Nigerian farmers.

“Nigerians had been assured of the delivery of 2000 tractors in 2024, and by now we should have 500 tractors on ground.

“The only concern that I have and we have here at the ministry is that there seems to be a slow pace in some of the concepts that we have lined out.

“But here we are, we are a bit stuck in the mud and we want to run away from all the problems that we have encountered in the past. And if there are any naughty areas that we need to look at, we need to do it assiduously.”

He noted that there should be quick action on the delivery of the tractors as the wet season was fast approaching, adding that there was the need to quickly see the effect of the tractors for the benefit of farmers and the country at large.

He explained that to increase agricultural yields, there was the need for tractors, stressing that this was very important for ramping up the production of food.

“We are challenged as a nation and the land is shrinking, hence we need to increase yield. We are under-tractorised right now as a country.”

He said the Federal Government should be commended for the steps it has taken so far to make tractors available to Nigerian farmers.

“I think this is the right step in the right direction. The federal government, under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu has decided that this time this should work,” he stated.

The Minister of State, FMAFS, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi expressed optimism that the tractors once made available will boost farming activities and achieve its aim of ensuring food security also stating that measures would be taken to enable proper utilization.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director, John Deere, Stephan Gouws, told the Minister that access to finance had been the challenge confronting his company as regards the supply of the tractors.

Gouws said that efforts were being made to ensure that the tractors where brought into the country soonest adding that their Services will also include providing comprehensive support, adequate knowledge, information and technical assistance to Nigeria’s agriculture sector and economy.

“The aim is for mechanisation for higher yields. So the challenge that we see is that the yields are there but its sub optimal. So we have to increase those yields with the land we have. However, access to finance is the biggest stumbling block for us.”

He noted that the goal of his firm was to increase yield and profitability using technology and training and expressed optimism in delivering the tractors once the last couple of hurdles were crossed.