The Jigawa State government has revealed its plan to partner with the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) in the implementation of the National Tractor Recovery and Refurbishment project to enhance agricultural productivity in the state.
The state governor, Muhammad Abubakar, made this known when he received a delegation from NASENI and the Machine Equipment Corporation Africa Limited (MECA) led by NASENI’s executive vice chairman, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, at the Jigawa State Government House yesterday.
Represented by his deputy, Alhaji Umar Namadi underscored the importance of the partnership, saying the Abubakar-led administration is committed to prioritising agricultural projects for the people of Jigawa State, even as he emphasised the importance of maintaining available agricultural equipment to save cost and increase agricultural output.
“Nigeria lacks a maintenance culture especially in maintaining equipment/machines and this has resulted in the yearly increase in procurement of equipment needed for agriculture. We need maintenance because without maintenance the government will keep losing money. A new tractor today is sold at about N9m but with NASENI and MECA’s intervention we can spend less in repairing the broken-down tractors and [getting farmers to] put them back to use,” he said.
He pointed out the remarkable strides of the state government in prioritising the agricultural sector, which he said has led to an increase in the local production of farm produce and birthed transformative agricultural projects for the state.
Earlier in his remarks, Haruna thanked the governor for granting NASENI’s delegate audience and, particularly, for his interest in the project.
He stated that the swift approval for the meeting to discuss the implementation of the project in Jigawa is an eloquent testimony of Badaru’s remarkable policy direction and an innovative step towards repositioning Jigawa State and the agricultural sector of the state in particular.
“President Muhammed Buhari on December 30, 2020, approved amongst others, the implementation of the National Tractor Recovery and Refurbishment Project. The approval followed the successful implementation of a Pilot Scheme of the Tractor Recovery and Refurbishment Project in Niger State, where a total of 50 broken down tractors were recovered within two months,” he said.
The NASENI boss explained the project, which is a collaboration between the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Niger State Government, NASENI and the Machine and Equipment Corporation Africa (MECA), aims at increasing Nigeria’s tractor density, promoting food security and agricultural development. Remarkably, the tractor recovery scheme will promote huge import substitution, curtail capital flight, improve local content and capacity development, as well as the sustainability and scalability of agricultural equipment in Nigeria.
“The scheme will also domesticate foreign technology through reverse engineering, training of operators, technicians, mechanics, etc. It will promote the establishment of technical and vocational training institutes for skilled and unskilled workers.”
This, he said, will bring about an increase in Nigeria’s tractor density by a factor of at least 7.5 times (Nigeria’s tractor density currently stands at 7 tractors per 100 square km. The programme can increase this to over 50 tractors per 100 square km, which indicates one of the highest in Africa). The tractor recovery scheme no doubt is a cost-effective and low-hanging opportunity that is self-sustaining with more value addition for the tractor owners,” he added.
In his presentation, the MECA country director, Dr. Iliyasu Gashinbaki, highlighted the achievements of the National Tractor Recovery and Refurbishment Project and how Jigawa can key into it.
A statement by the special assistant on social media to the executive vice-chairman, Peter Ewu, recalled that the mandate of NASENI is in capital goods, research, reverse engineering and production.
“The success of NASENI in tractor repairs and overhaul led to the establishment of MECA in a PPP structure. NASENI is both a board member and shareholder in MECA, on whose platform the National Tractor Recovery and Refurbishment Project is implemented,” it added.