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Stakeholders ratify policy recommendations on agric mechanisation

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Over 100 representatives of key stakeholder groups in the agricultural sector met in Abuja on November 19, 2019, to validate results from several stakeholder consultative meetings organised to identify constraints hampering agricultural mechanisation in Nigeria and proffer recommendations for improvement with the aim of supporting the development of a national policy on agricultural mechanisation. The one-day workshop captioned ‘Agricultural Mechanisation Policy Validation Workshop’ was organised by Propcom Mai-karfi, a UK government-funded rural market development programme implemented in Northern Nigeria.
 
The increasing demand for mechanisation among an estimated 77 million farmer population as well as factors limiting better use of Nigeria’s agricultural mechanisation potential underscore the importance of reviewing the agricultural mechanisation policy within the present drive to make Nigeria more self-sufficient in its food requirements. Some of these limiting factors reported by stakeholders are poor access to credit, high cost of agricultural equipment, minimal private sector engagement, weak advocacy and lack of a clear framework guiding implementation of the broad statements on agricultural mechanisation in the National Agriculture Promotion Policy.
 
Developing an implementation plan for agricultural mechanisation in the National Agriculture Promotion Policy, introducing policy on compulsory in-country assembly of tractors and other agricultural machinery, developing federal policy on land development and offering financial incentives to states to develop farmlands, expanding the mechanisation policy to comprise irrigation infrastructure, land clearing and post-harvest storage activities, and extending the zero-tariffs policy to tipping trailers and agricultural machinery spare parts are some recommendations proffered by stakeholders to address these limitations.

 
“We hope to influence policy and help Nigeria define a path for improving mechanisation and expanding the required access to finance in Nigeria,” said Ogheneovo Ugbebor, Deputy Team Leader at Propcom Mai-karfi.
 
“The engagements and coming together of different agricultural stakeholders in Nigeria have actually gone up and we are seeing the benefits. Mechanisation is a specialist area and it is something we must do well if we are to propel agriculture in Nigeria” – Dr Chijioke Osuji, Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
 
“Through this process it is evident that there are organisations that have interest in improving agricultural mechanisation in Nigeria. With this great work that Propcom Mai-karfi is doing I am sure that in the next 5 years agricultural mechanisation will go a long way many more people, especially in rural areas, will benefit.” said Felicia Nzomisaki, Permanent Secretary at the State Ministry of Agriculture, Adamawa State.
 
“This is one of the few times in planning and policy processes for agricultural development where we have strict adherence to different components and stages of policy formulation before we arrive at a concise policy document, which in this case is the National Policy on Agricultural Mechanisation.” – Professor Ayoola Gboladade, Farm and Infrastructure Foundation (FIF).
 
Others present at the event were the Kano State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Hadi Bala Yahaya; Head of the Agriculture and Food Security Policy Commission of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), Ms. Gloria Ekpo; Directors at the National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), Drs. Segun Ademiluyi and Isaac Ozumba; and the Chairman of Tractor Owners and Hiring Facilities Association of Nigeria (TOHFAN), Alhaji Danladi Garba.

Holding such an inclusive event and bringing together key stakeholders and experts was a significant feat and the culmination of a long process from consultative meetings to policy recommendations. The next action steps for stakeholders is further engagement with and support to the National Centre on Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM), constituted by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), to develop the National Policy on Agricultural Mechanisation. 


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