Stakeholders in the agriculture have tasked the federal government on the need to review the agricultural mechanization policy within the present drive to boost agricultural production as well as promote food sufficiency across country.
Ogheneovo Ugbebor, Deputy Team Leader, Propcom Mai-karfi group speaking at the one-day workshop captioned ‘Agricultural Mechanization Policy Validation Workshop’ organized by Propcom Mai-karfi, said that developing an implementation plan for agricultural mechanization in the National Agriculture Promotion Policy as well as introducing policy on compulsory in-country assembly of tractors and other agricultural machinery is critical in addressing the limitations in the sector.
“Some of the limiting factors affecting our productivity in the agriculture space include; poor access to credit, high cost of agricultural equipment, minimal private sector engagement, weak advocacy and lack of a clear framework guiding implementation of the broad statements on agricultural mechanization in the National Agriculture Promotion Policy”.
“We hope to influence policy and help Nigeria define a path for improving mechanization and expanding the required access to finance in Nigeria”, she said.
Speaking further, Ugbebor said that the increasing demand for mechanization among an estimated 77 million farmer population as well as factors limiting better use of Nigeria’s agricultural mechanization potential underscore the importance of reviewing the agricultural mechanization policy within the present drive to make Nigeria more self-sufficient in its food requirements.
Chijioke Osuji, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, in his remark said that developing federal policy on land development and offering financial incentives to states to develop farmlands, expanding the mechanization policy to comprise irrigation infrastructure, land clearing and post-harvest storage activities, and extending the zero-tariffs policy to tipping trailers and agricultural machinery spare parts are critical to addressing the identified limitations.
“That the engagements and coming together of different agricultural stakeholders in Nigeria have actually gone up and we are seeing the benefits. Mechanization is a specialist area and it is something we must do well if we are to propel agriculture in Nigeria”, he said.
“This is one of the few times in planning and policy processes for agricultural development where we have strict adherence to different components and stages of policy formulation before we arrive at a concise policy document, which in this case is the National Policy on Agricultural Mechanization”.Ayoola Gboladade, Farm and Infrastructure Foundation (FIF).
Cynthia Egboboh, Abuja