The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, has said that Nigeria has less than 20,000 functioning tractors in the country, one of the lowest in the world.
Speaking at an event yesterday in Abuja, the minister stated that creating a market for contract tractor service providers would not only mechanise the sector but present job opportunities for many industrious youth.
According to him: "We need to design a comprehensive system that facilitates a strong relationship between financial institutions, tractor manufacturers, tractor vendors and all other relevant parties to make it easier to afford, own or lease tractors. To get the youth into agriculture, we must rapidly mechanise our agriculture, this is particularly necessary if we hope to overcome the image of drudgery that discourages many youths from getting into the agricultural sector."
Adesina further added that government has started to design a new initiative to create a new generation of young commercial farmers that would help transform the agricultural sector and feed Nigeria today and well into the future.
Commenting on the agriculture transformation, the minister noted that farming population was ageing rapidly and unable to meet the increasingly complex challenges of markets and technology.
"To feed our rising population well into the future, we will need young commercial farmers and also need to create jobs for our many unemployed youth, however the agricultural sector holds the greatest potential to create jobs for our many unemployed youths."
The minister said the administration was developing a market institutions and infrastructure to allow farmers get better market access and higher prices for their products, stating that the scrapping of the marketing boards under the structural adjustment programmes of the World Bank and IMF left commodity markets poorly organised and high levels of post-harvest losses.