• January 16, 2021

Agric mechanisation programme begins April

The Federal Government on Wednesday announced that it would commence its agricultural mechanisation initiative in the next three months.

It was also gathered in Abuja that the government of Turkey planned to invest $15m in the Nigerian agricultural sector in two years.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, explained that the mechanisation policy would involve a full technology package transfer to cover all stages from agricultural production to industrial processing, packaging and marketing.

Nanono, who spoke at a meeting with the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, described the agricultural mechanisation programme as the solution to achieving food sufficiency and job creation in Nigeria.

“The programme will be private sector-driven and government will only create a conducive environment and offer assistance where necessary,” he stated.

The minister said Ogun State was notable for cocoa and rice production, adding that there was a need to revive the cocoa industry in particular.

“We must develop new cocoa varieties in Nigeria because the new cocoa varieties will yield in two and half years,” Nanono said.

He said the programme would have service centres across the country, 140 processing stations and would enhance production, create jobs and grow the nation’s Internally Generated Revenue.

Abiodun described Ogun State as the food basket of the nation and told the minister that the state was investing massively in capacity building, especially in extension services.

According to the governor, the aim is to improve yields in farm products such as cassava, maize, cotton and rice, among others.

On plans by Turkey to invest in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, appreciated the gesture shown by the Turkish government to invest $15m in the industry.

Shehuri said this when he received a Turkish investment delegation led by the Commercial Counsellor, Turkish Embassy in Nigeria, Onur Akgul, in Abuja on Wednesday.

The minister said Nigeria would gain more from the experience of Turkey in the agricultural value chain as there were a lot of areas of collaboration between Nigeria and the Turkish government.

He noted that both countries could collaborate in the areas of subsistence and mechanised intervention farming in order to achieve food security for the development of Nigeria.

Shehuri assured members of the delegation of the full support of the ministry, adding that the government would come up with a document to guide investors in the agricultural sector.

He promised that a portal would be created where all the information needed by investors about the achievements of the ministry and its agencies would be provided.

Akgul said the $15m would be invested in areas such as mobile solar system, mechanisation, skill training, food supply security, agricultural infrastructure and rural development within two years of commencement of the collaboration.

SOURCE: PUNCH

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