Tractor Owners and Hiring Facilities Association of Nigeria (TOHFAN) said on Tuesday that the country needed between 70,000 and 100,000 functional tractors to meet its mechanisation requirement and food sufficiency.
Alhaji Danladi Garba, National Chairman of the Association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the country had about 34 million hectares of land under cultivation.
According to him, Nigeria does not have up to 7,000 functional tractors that could provide services at any given time to farmers.
He said that the association, in 2018, got no fewer than 28,000 bookings for cultivation services from farmers but was only able to provide services to 7,000 farmers.
Garba said the delay was due to inadequate number of tractors in the country, adding, “currently, we have 552 tractors. We are in 31 states across the country.
“Farmers are requesting services from us, but we are not able to provide the services.
“As at 2018, we had 28,000 bookings by farmers; but we were able to provide services to only 7,000 because of inadequate number of tractors in the country.
“We have 34 million hectares under cultivation; if Nigeria can become a food secure country, we need between 70,000 to 100,000 tractors.
“Looking at the number we have now, we cannot take care of the requests that come into our platform because the penetration level of tractors in our country is less than seven tractors in a radius of 100 square km,’’ he said.
The national chairman said the association had plans to procure between 200 and 400 tractors to add to its fleet to enable it meet farmers’ mechanisation demands before the end of April.
Garba also said that plans were underway by the association and the Nigerian Agricultural Mechanisation and Equipment Leasing Company (NAMEL) to procure additional 200 tractors for the association.
This, he said, would help the association to provide services to farmers, especially in the forthcoming wet season farming.
“This year, we planned additional 1,000 tractors into our fleet.
“With NAMEL, we are expecting 200 tractors to come; but the arrangement has not been finalised.
“Through our own arrangement, we are looking at between 200 and 400 tractors before the end of April.’’
On sustainability of tractors, Danladi said the association had trained and certified operators and mechanics to manage the equipment.