COVID-19: Mechanization best option to upscale food production — AFAN

The All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Thursday,  stressed need for adoption of mechnaisation as best option to upscale food production during and after the crippling Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic. This was stated by the National President, AFAN, Architect Kabir Ibrahim, while harping on low penetration of mechanization in the nation’s agricultural sector.


According to Ibrahim optimization of agricultural productivity in the country is to invest heavily in mechanization including research and extension services. He also noted that government’s intention to import about 10,000 tractors and other equipment from Brazil depicts a step in the right direction, but inadequate to change the narrative as far as the 200 million mouths remain to feed, especially now there is high level of hunger. He said: “Replacing or augmenting manual labour by the use of machine will boost Agricultural production greatly especially where there is looming scarcity of food due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The level of mechanization is very low or downright abysmal that’s why there is a large number of Small Holder Farmers, SHFs, in Nigeria. “In order to optimize agricultural productivity sustainably, a very high investment is required in mechanization, research and extension. “The Government has expressed the intention to import about 10,000 tractors and other equipment from Brazil and this is a welcome development by all means but clearly inadequate to take us to where we ought to be given our population and the current level of mechanization. “To really boost our production to an optimum level the private sector, research institutes, banks and Ministries Department and Agencies, MDAs, such as Ministry of Science and Technology must all continue to invest heavily in agricultural mechanization.

“The Technology Incubation Centers in the Ministry of Science and Technology should be reinvigorated and meaningfully capitalized to produce small and medium sized equipment like threshers, grinders, harvesters, and others. “The farmers should own their means of production with the support from the Government in the form of long term guarantees or soft loans from commercial banks with long moratorium to acquire farm machinery.” However, the AFAN boss also pointed out that there is urgent need for the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to focus its intervention on critical areas of the agricultural sector including mechanization that fast-tracks food production and security.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention in Agriculture should go beyond mere agronomy and family farming but should support commercial agriculture by reappraising the level of automation generally. “The Anchor Borrower Scheme should be enhanced to capture large supply of agricultural machinery to make the mechanization of Nigeria’s agriculture a short term project to boost production. “The Government should set up a task force to make Nigeria’s agriculture its priority especially now that oil prices are crashing in the global market”, he added.


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