To fast-track growth in the agriculture sector, the private sector has been charged to key into agricultural mechanisation and tap into the various investment opportunities bountiful in Nigeria’s agro-industry.
The charge was made in Abuja by the Propcom Mai-karfi, a programme supported by the UK Government to make rural markets work for the poor in Northern Nigeria.
Speaking during a session organised by the Agricultural Mechanisation Investment roadshow, Senior Programme Manager of Propcom Mai-karfi, Mr Godson Ohuruogu, said that the government’s effort in agriculture could be complemented by the private sector, adding that the latter needs to wake up to the opportunities and the possibilities that are inherent in the agro-industry.
In his words, “The Government is trying but it is not enough, it is a far cry. When the government releases its budget how many tractors are they able to purchase so that farmers can use.”
Ohuruogu who noted that the availability of tractors in Nigeria could not be compared to the number of tractors needed for the country added that the event was organised to increase the size of investment in the mechanisation sector in Nigeria.
He also stressed that the reason for the programme is to assemble all the stakeholders, investors, vendors, Mechanisation Service Providers(MSPs), farmers cooperatives and others to partake on the investment opportunities and returns.
On her part, Deputy Team Lead of Propcom Mai-Karfi, Ogheneovo Ugbebor, also said that until smallholder farmers are disengaged from the poverty level to more commercial production, financial institutions will only show little or no interest.
She explained that the programme’s project design strategies corroborate efforts in ways that commercial entities can deal with farmers either as service providers or off takers.
“There’s power at the bottom but you need to be able to aggregate the number for efficiency. We need to address ways of aggregating small holders in a way that is efficient and effective to do business with them or for them,’’ she added.