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Nigeria agro diversification gets John Deere boost on partnership to deepen local content

Leading global agro mechanization multinational, John Deere Inc. has sealed support partnership with the federal government to assist Nigeria with Agricultural equipment and machinery to grow economic diversification in farming and food sufficiency.

The deal is coming barely two weeks after a business meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Washington DC, United States of America (USA) with representative of the company.

The agreement stemmed from an earlier meeting with the delegation led by President of John Deere-Africa, Mr. Mark Von Pentz and the Nigerian Agricultural Mechanization & Equipment Leasing Company (NAMEL) brokered by the Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Chief Audu Ogbeh.

Speaking at Blair House, Washington DC after his White House engagements with President Donald Trump, President Buhari, at a meeting with Chief Executive Officers of six American agricultural companies including John Deere lamented the challenges of the country’s youth with “sixty per cent of the population below 30 years.”

Key proposal consummated at the meeting with President Buhari and Nigerian delegation in Washington DC, was the approval given by John Deere to set up an assembly plant in Nigeria where 10,000 tractors will be produced in four years.

Speaking at the partnership meeting presided over by Chief Ogbeh in Abuja, Mr. Mark Von Pentz noted that “Nigeria is the next super power of Africa in terms of her economic potential and population growth projections. Both present an opportunity to grow as well as a challenge to feed the growing population. Nigeria is blessed with fertile land, good people, and a great climate to make things happen and put the country in prosperity. We are here to establish a meaningful presence and be part of your success story in Agricultural Mechanization”.

The meeting with the Minister was held ahead the official launch of the S.M.A.R.T Model Farm demonstration site on Thursday, May 10th, 2018 in Gwagwalada, Abuja.

Details of the emerging deal show that under the partnership, the S.M.A.R.T Model Mechanization Farm is a technologically driven agricultural project that offers integrated solutions for smallholder farmers; mechanized agriculture for improved yields; access to finance; reliability and technology/training and designed to make mechanized farming available & affordable to farmers especially the smallholder farmer “who cannot afford to own tractors and other agricultural equipment, at affordable rates”.

The Technical Adviser (New Media) to the Minister, Aishat Ayijimoh Onusi explained to Business Hilights weekend that the partnership is expected to help encourage more youths’ participation in Agriculture; increase food production; boost job creation and promotes local content in agricultural mechanization through the establishment of training centres and spare parts assembly plants.

While describing the deal as a key strategy to attaining Nigeria’s target in food security and self-sufficiency, Chief Ogbeh welcomed the group to Nigeria and thanked them for their willingness to invest in the country’s Agricultural sector.

The minister stressed the importance of ensuring high quality standard of equipment designed for the Nigerian farmer, taking into consideration the structure of the soil and climatic conditions.

In his response to the new partnership, the Director General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Engr. Chidi Izuwah averred that “We at the ICRC are very pleased to have been part of this positive development in the agricultural sector and we are committed to giving our full support to any such programme involving public-private partnerships”.