The Executive Director of the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), Dr Yomi Kasali has decried the alleged high rate of importation of substandard tractors into many Nigerian states. Kasali said unless proper measures are taken against the “agricultural pollution,” Nigeria may continue to experience setbacks in the areas of Agricultural Technologies Mechanisation (ATM).
Leading a team of other notable keynote speakers in Ilorin during the 2019 agricultural mechanization stakeholders’ meeting, Kasali bemoaned non-involvement of NCAM by many Nigerian state governors while implementing the agricultural mechanization agenda for their states.
One of the consequences, he said, is turning Nigeria into a dumping ground for imported agricultural machinery that is not suitable for the climatic conditions. He cited a recent importation of about 500 tractors by the government of Zamfara state from China “without the knowledge of the NCAM but when we were eventually contacted, we discovered that only 50 of the tractors were in good conditions.”
For the NCAM boss said the core mandate of the center includes inspection and certifications of all the imported agricultural machines into Nigeria before being used. He said: “To increase productivity and agricultural contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the country needs to mechanize its agriculture. To realize this, though there is a need for increment in agricultural landmass, increasing productivity per hectare will have a greater impact on production. This may be actualized by deploying technologies to the farm.”
He added that “state governments have a penchant for imported machinery even without recourse to the center. The imported machines are subjected to variation in temperature (from the temperate region to tropical regions), thus leading to their breakdowns shortly. Besides, they were imported without taking into consideration the availability of spare parts.”
Kasali, while showcasing various machines developed by NCAM engineers and fabricators, urged the various state governments to upscale their preference for indigenous technologies and boost employment ratio in the sector. He commended three Nigerian states of the federation “especially, Ogun State,” for partnering NCAM in the area of agricultural mechanization.
In his address, the Executive Director of National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Professor M. K. Othman, regretted that only about 10 percent of the nation’s arable land has been mechanized till date.
Othman, represented by Professor Y. M. Abdullahi from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, spoke on the topic, ‘Extension and Commercialisation of Agricultural Mechanisation Technologies: Issues, Constraints and Way Forward’, regretted that the gap between the demand and supply forces in agricultural produce was becoming wider due to a low embrace of agricultural mechanization.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN