December 27, 2022
The National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation, NCAM, Ilorin, has commenced the production of tractors and other farm implements for smallholder farmers to boost food production.
Dr AbdulGafar Rasheed-Kamal, the Acting Executive Director of the centre, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday that the strategy would also help achieve national food security.
According to him, over 80 per cent of food produced in Nigeria, including those for export, are produced by smallholder farmers who lacked modern implements to attain food sufficiency.
Mr Rasheed-Kamal said NCAM had commenced the production of several farm implements to aid farm produce in line with the vision and mission of the centre established by the Federal Government.
“As we are talking now most of these small holder farmers still employ traditional tools for their operations which normally bring low productivity,” he said.
“The NCAM was established by the Federal Government to mechanised the agricultural processes in terms of production, post-harvest as well as processing,” the acting executive director explained.
He said the centre had developed a lot of mechanised technologies to assist farmers to increase production, including land cultivation equipment like mini tractors, planters and harvesters.
“The number of tractors in Nigeria is very minimal when compared to a number of farmers on ground, hence there is need for local development of tractors,” he said.
Mr Rasheed-Kamal disclosed that the centre had produced yam planter which can plant over 2,000 heaps and other implement which are hired by farmers at affordable fares.
He however lamented that the raw materials for the production of tractors and other farm implements by the centre are extremely expensive as there is no waiver for them in terms of tariff.
The acting executive director therefore called on the National Assembly to enact a bill that will make materials for producing agricultural implements free from tariff.
This, he said, would further boost the nation’s agricultural production and assist small holder farmers who are producing food for the nation and export.
He advised the small holder farmers to embrace new technologies at the disposal of the centre to improve their productivity.
The acting executive director reaffirmed the determination of the Extension Department of the centre to embark on more sensitisation of farmers across the country on how to embrace modern technologies at the centre. (NAN)