The Delta State Government stated that it has purchased four new tractors to upscale the number to 10 at the Tractor Hire Agency to enhance agricultural mechanization in the state.
Mr. Julius Egbedi, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, made this known in a statement on Wednesday in Asaba.
Egbedi said that apart from increasing the tractor fleet, the state government had also trained 20 drivers and mechanics for effective service delivery to farmers in the state.
The commissioner, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Benneth Agamah said that three days of training was organized by Tractor Hire Agency in collaboration with John Deere Group, manufacturers of agro-machines.
He said that the training was in line with the state government’s assisted mechanisation programme on best machine maintenance practices.
According to him, the training became imperative to upgrade the knowledge of tractor operators and appropriate maintenance kits to prevent loss of income of employer.
“The state government has upscale the number of tractors at the Tractor Hire Agency from six to ten to make farmers in the state have easy access to the tractor to expand their farms.
“We thank Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa for the purchase of additional four 75 HP tractors; the governor has the interest of farmers at heart,” he said.
He said that to maintain equipment had always been cheaper than a repair, and urged the trainees to give maximum attention to the training.
The Acting General Manager, Tractor Hire Agency, Mr. Ovie Ighotegwonor said that a system of reward had been introduced to give a boost to tractor maintenance in the agency.
“The tractor driver’s performance will be appraised at the end of every season and those who did very well will get the reward.
“For a tractor that is found to be in top shape at the end of the season, such tractor driver will be awarded a gift,” he said.
Miss Ebimoboere Eniyekpemi, the Trainer and Managing Director, Afritropic Farming and Agro Services Ltd., said that her company’s collaboration with the agency was to give an international standard of training to the operators.
According to her, the training will make them sustain and use the tractor well, and ensure that agricultural mechanisation is brought to the doorsteps of farmers in the state.
Responding, Mr. Eruotor Arthur-Prest, a beneficiary and the most senior tractor operator in the state appreciated Okowa for the additional tractors and the training given to the operators.
He said that the training would afford them the needed knowledge in handling the machines and to increase its lifespan.
Other trainees, Mr. Pius Okuesan and Mr. Friday Abinor, also thanked the state government for the training, pledging their commitments to effectively utilize the knowledge acquired to handle the equipment to improve the performance of farmers and increase food production.