The Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Chief Audu Ogbeh on Thursday, May 10, 2018, launched the S.M.A.R.T Model Farm mechanization site, an integrated mechanization solutions project in partnership with Global Agricultural equipment manufacturers – John Deere Tractors and the Nigerian Agricultural Mechanization & Equipment Leasing Company – NAMEL.
Launching the demonstration site in Gwagwalada, Abuja, the Honourable Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh stated: “Today is a fantastic day. We have dreamt of this for a while and we are happy it is coming into existence today. This triangle of collaboration is the way to go, in our quest to attain food security. With the blessing of President Muhammadu Buhari, we are beginning to make headway in the right direction”.
Engr. Adekunle Ahmed, Senior Technical Adviser on Mechanization, Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, described the model as a new mechanisation extension programme that has the capacity to increase productivity by 300% and redefine agriculture from a non-profit venture a profitable business for the smallholder farmer.
“Our tractor population in Nigeria is grossly inadequate. The Hon. Minister, Chief Audu Ogbeh has been working tirelessly to solve this problem. Today’s event is a positive turn-around for the Nigerian farmer”, said Engr. Owolabi, Director, Mechanization, Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development.
“We feel highly honoured to be a part of Nigeria’s revolution in Agriculture. We are ready to provide unique solutions that effectively serve the farmers of Nigeria” – MD, John Deere, Sub-Saharan Africa said during his remarks.
Director General – Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission – Engr. Chidi Izuwah, expressed delight about the launch: “We at the ICRC are very pleased to have been part of this positive development in the agricultural sector and we are committed to giving our full support to any such programme involving public-private partnerships”.
The event was attended by representatives of Tractor Owners Association of Nigeria; Tractor Owners & Hiring Facility of Nigeria, Cassava Growers Association of Nigeria, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria etc.
Press Release from FMARD NG