The federal government has said it will start up a programme, “The Green Imperative”, which will lead to the establishment of 632 farm mechanisation centres in the country.
The government said the mechanisation centres will support food production in all the local government areas of the country so as to boost the nation’s food sufficiency.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, alongside the Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Sabo Nanono, said this in Abuja on June 3, while giving details of the implementation of “The Green Imperative” programme.
The minister reported that the government is ready to revolutionise the agricultural sector, strengthen the nation’s economy as well as bring in many other benefits through the Green Imperative programme.
“The stage is now set for an agricultural revolution that will strengthen food security, create massive jobs, transfer technology, revive or reinvigorate many assembly plants, strengthen the economy, save scarce resources, mechanize farming and lead to the emergence of the value-added agriculture, among other benefits,” the minister said.
The Green Imperative Programme is a Nigeria-Brazil led bilateral agriculture development program launched by the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, in January 2019, with the aim to strengthen the productive capacity of smallholder farmers through provision of tractors.
African agriculture relies mostly on direct human energy due to the lack of machines and this has negative effects in the agricultural production level.
In Nigeria, majority of smallholder farmers are often too poor to pay for farming machines, therefore the size of farmland covered with the human effort remains small.
According to Mohammed, ‘The Green Imperative Programme’, expected to be funded by Brazil and other international bodies, is worth US$1.2 billion and is billed to be implemented over a period of 5-10 years.
“The programme, worth US$1.2 billion, is to be implemented over a period of 5- 10 years with funding from the Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES) and Deutsche Bank with insurance provided by Brazillian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency (ABGF) and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit (ICIEC) of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and coordinated by Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV),” the minister said.
With the government’s plans to establish these mechanisation centres across the country, there will be increased productivity, timeliness of operation and improved quality of farm produce.
“The Nigerian technical team also embarked on a study tour of three African countries (Ghana, Kenya and Senegal) where MFIP is being implemented to study their challenges as well as their success or failures. The Nigerian technical team has also visited the selected assembly plants in the six geopolitical zones to determine in-country capacity to handle the assembly of a CKD-based program of this magnitude,” the minister said.
The minister listed other benefits of the planned Green imperative programme to include assembly plants for tractors and other implements.
“The program will import the completely knocked down (CKD) parts of about 5,000 tractors and numerous implements (for local assembly) annually for ten years and reactivation of six motor assembly plants in the six -geopolitical zones of the country for assembling tractors and other implements,” he said.