IFAD/VCDP in Niger calls for synergy between farmers, tractor owners


International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in Niger has called for collaboration between its beneficiary farmers and Tractor Owners and Hiring Facilities Association of Nigeria (TOHFAN).
Dr Mathew Ahmed, the State Programme Coordinator, made the call on Wednesday in Minna during a stakeholders meeting on agricultural mechanisation service delivery.
He said that the collaboration between farmers and the Niger chapter of TOHFAN would create jobs and wealth among the youth in the state.
If the farmers and TOHFAN can work together, it will bring about agricultural mechanisation which will, in turn, attract more youth to take to farming.
It will also enable farmers, tractor owners, operators, hiring agents, booking agents and technicians to get better service delivery for their investment,’’ he said.
Ahmed urged the 13, 000 farmers, who were benefitting from VCDP rice and cassava initiatives in the state, to embrace the tractor hiring service value chain to enhance their productivity.
Similarly, Alhaji Danladi Garba, the National Chairman of TOHFAN, stressed the need for tractor owners in the state to register with the association in order to boost the farmers’ access to sustainable tractor hiring services.
He also pledged the association’s readiness to provide hitch-free services to farmers, assuring them of sustained access to tractors for their land preparation.
Garba said that the association, which was established in 2003 with nine tractors and 36 members, operated in 21 states to provide commercial tractor hiring services for interested farmers.
He said that the association currently had 757 registered members across the country with 262 tractors in its fleet.
Also speaking, Mallam Mohammed Useni, a tractor owner from Katcha Local Government Area of the state, said that he would register with the association so as to provide quality services for farmers, while recouping his investment.
In his remark, Alhaji Kabiru Abbas, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, identified drudgery as one of the reasons why youths backed away from agriculture.
Abbas, who was represented by Alhaji Muhammadu Ibrahim, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, said that the tractor hiring services would attract more youths to agriculture.

He said that government was making arrangements to purchase more tractors for commercial services.

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