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Thursday 02nd December 2021,
Hope for Nigeria

Federal Government Directs CBN To Set Aside N50bn For Mechanised Agriculture

The federal government the other day instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to put aside a N50 billion mechanisation assistance support fund that will enable and increase the entire establishment of the 1,200 private sector pushed Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises (AEHE) in all of the 36 states of the federation.

Vice President Namadi Sambo gave the directive while commissioning and flagging off the 100,000 metric tons grains Silos and the Agricultural Equipment Hiring Centres in Abuja on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan.

“As we produce more food, it has become necessary to expand our food storage capacity and reduce post-harvest losses. The development of strategic grains reserve is central to our policy of stabilising food prices for consumers and assuring guaranteed minimum prices and market access for farmers,” Sambo stated.

Noting that it was for this reason that he launched the agricultural transformation agenda in 2011, with the goal of producing an additional 20 million metric tons of food by 2015, the vice president noted that current records indicated 21 million metric tons were produced by Nigerian farmers surpassing this target and achieving increased food production in the past three years.

He announced that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had since completed a total of six silos with a capacity of 250,000 metric tons (MT) since November 2013, with a further 625,000 MT silos to be completed by December 2014, making a total of 875,000 MT silos capacity completed within two years.

Expressing satisfaction that the agricultural transformation agenda was achieving great strides in government’s efforts to turn Nigeria into a self- sufficient country, Sambo said Nigeria was the first in Africa to develop the

e-wallet system which is now being replicated in several African countries.

He said, “Our Growth Enhancement Scheme and the e-wallet system for reaching farmers with fertilisers and improved seeds through the mobile phones, have reached 14 million farmers by 2014.

“With the Agricultural Enterprise Hiring Enterprises (AEHEs) being launched today, the agricultural mechanisation programme will be driven through a public private partnership involving private sector manufacturers of tractors and agricultural machinery, service provider operators, financial institutions and government.”

He commended the minister of agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina, the minister of State, Asabe Ahmed, and their team in the ministry for the progress achieved so far under the transformation agenda.

Earlier, the minister of agriculture said private sector investments in agriculture were expanding, just as all over the country, small-holder farmers had been witnessing a new dawn.

“Our food import bill has declined from N 1.1 trillion ($ 6.9 billion) in 2009 to N 684.7 billion ($4.35 billion) by December 2013 and continues to decline in 2014,” Adesina said.

He noted, however that despite the gains, certain challenges abound, even as he cited some of such challenges to include the low level of mechanisation of the agriculture sector.

Other challenges, according to him, include the high cost of land clearing which is a major disincentive for the expansion of cultivated area and the high cost of mechanisation from ploughing to harvesting.

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