The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Chief Audu Ogbeh, has disclosed that the Federal Government sealed a pact with John Deere Tractors to acquire about 10,000 tractors through Public Private Partnership Programme (PPP) with the tractor manufacturing company.
The Minister, who made the disclosure during his meeting with the management of John Deere NAMEL International on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the partnership was entered into as a deliberate policy of government to promote mechanized agricultural development in the country.
He explained that the Programme which will span five years, would assist the small holder farmers to have access to tractors through Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise (AEHE) while the service- provider will manage, service the tractor and hire them out to farmers at subsidized prices.
According to him, the Programme which has been approved by the President include, purchase of tractors, combined harvesters for grains, sugar cane and special training of the operators.
Ogbeh pointed out that tractors with life span of about 15 years were needed agriculture mechanization given their value for money offerings in efforts to achieve food security and urged John Deere Tractors to work towards a single digit interest rate to make the tractors affordable to farmers.
In his remarks at the forum, the President of John Deere Tractors overseeing Africa, Asia and Europe, Mr. Mark Von pence, said that his management was “looking forward to partner with Nigeria because we believed in Nigeria and we are ready to work together to take Nigeria agriculture to a greater height.’’
Also, the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Jason Brantley, while giving brief insight into the company’s activities in Africa for more than 30 years; assured that the company had the competence and experience to help the country attain national food security..