By Asmau Ahmad
Nigeria’s Vice President Kashim Shettima has reiterated the commitment of President Bola Tinubu’s administration to transform agriculture as pathway to curb insecurity and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
He said this on Monday in a statement by Mr Stanley Nkwocha, Senior Special Assistant to the President, on Media and Communications, Office of the Vice President.
Shettima, who spoke with the official of an American company, John Deere in the United States, said that, “without mechanisation you can never be truly self-sufficient in food production.”
The vice president also said that Tinubu’s administration was fully committed to revitalising the Nigerian agricultural sector.
“And for us to be self-sufficient in food production, three key elements are essential. First are certified seeds, then mechanisation, provision of fertiliser and of course, agricultural extension services.”
He explained that the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) was designed to provide the infrastructure, platform and framework for the private sector.
This, according to him, will enable private sector to add value to Nigeria’s agricultural produce for domestic, regional market and for the global community.
Shettima assured investors that Nigeria was open for partnership, adding that, “we are open for discussions, for conversations towards fast tracking the whole process.
“My principal, President Tinubu, is very eager to see that the full potential of the Nigerian agricultural sector is realised.
“The President declared a food security emergency in August this year, fundamentally anchored on the fact that we are exposed to all the volatility in the world.
“We are vulnerable, we are exposed. This is why we are putting in place the mechanisms towards addressing challenges in the sector and we cannot afford to do otherwise.”
Earlier, the company’s Vice President on Production Systems, Mr Jason Brantley, said it had resolved to set up a tractor assembly plant in Nigeria.
Brantley expressed hope that the project would unlock Nigeria’s agricultural potentials by creating an organised approach to tractor-clearing services for smallholder farmers across the country.
He said the initiative to establish tractor assembly plant would require zero investment from the government.
“While credit guarantees will be needed to help make credit available at an affordable rate for interested persons or groups,” he said.
Brantley also expressed the company’s readiness to engage relevant authorities in Nigeria, with a view to actualising the objective of establishing the assembly plant.
The meeting which was facilitated by the Chairman of the Flour Mills of Nigeria, Mr John Coumantaros, also had in attendance the Minister of Agriculture, Abubakar Kyari.
Others are the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Amb. Lot Egopija, and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agribusiness and Productivity, Dr Kingsley Uzoma, among others.