Farmers lament dearth of equipment to promote agric

Some farmers on Thursday decried the non-availability of farming equipment to further drive and promote the development of agriculture from subsistence level to large scale farming.

Mr Shola Adepomola, the National Coordinator, Farmers Empowerment and Development Association of Nigeria (FEDAN), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that acquiring tractors had become nearly impossible.

Adepomola said that some manufacturing companies, which the association had approached to purchase a tractor, had said that it would cost between N13 million and N16 million.

``We have always leased tractors from agro-allied companies to prepare our farms but recently, we started talking to some manufacturing companies abroad.

``The drawback now is that the price they are giving to us is too much at N13 and N16 million, whereas, we have only N7 million.

``Why we want to acquire our own tractor is because the demand for tractors has become high, and so we have a long time to wait before the tractor gets to us,’’ Adepomola said.

According to the coordinator, the Federal Government can subsidise the price of tractors for farmers by paying 50 per cent of the total cost while the farmers pay 50 per cent.

Mr Nnamdi Ifenkwe, Project Coordinator of Nisi Agro Allied Services, said that there was the need to improve the country’s commercialisation process of agriculture.

Ifenkwe told NAN that there should be a practical approach to agriculture rather than just coming up with one policy or the other.

``There are more to be done in our approach to dealing with agricultural issues, especially now that government is looking at diversification from oil.

``Only when government begins to take commercialisation serious, Nigeria will not make as much progress as required for economic growth.

``For farmers to produce food, government needs to facilitate mechanised farming, by providing tractors for farmers,’’ he said.

Mr Nero Basir, another farmer, said that he had booked for a tractor since two weeks ago and had yet to have the tractor on his cassava farm.

Basir, however, called on government to reduce the duty imposed on imported machines to encourage the influx of imported farm inputs and service the growing need of tractors in the country.

``I really hope the government can look into reducing the duty on imported farm machineries to further pave the way for the country's commercialisation of agriculture.

``We have had cases of requesting for tractors but because there are lots of farmers wanting to use the same tractor, we have to wait endlessly.

``There is the need to do more and we should not rest on our oars, as we strive to make agriculture the mainstay of the country’s economy,’’ he said.


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