The federal government says, an American company, John Deere has resolved to set up a tractor assembly plant in Nigeria.
Stanley Nkwocha, senior special assistant to the president, media and communications, made this known in a statement on Monday.
According to the statement, details of the company’s interest in investing in Nigeria’s agricultural sector were made known during a meeting between Vice President Kashim Shettima and top officials of John Deere — led by Jason Brantley, the company’s vice president on production systems.
Speaking during the interaction with the investors, Shettima said Nigeria is committed to transforming agriculture as a pathway to tackling insecurity and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
“Without mechanisation, you can never be truly self-sufficient in food production. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is fully committed to revitalising the Nigerian agricultural sector,” he said.
“And for us to be self-sufficient in food production, three key elements are essential. First is certified seeds, then mechanisation, provision of fertilizer and of course, agricultural extension services.”
Shettima, who spoke on the special agro-industrial processing zones (SAPZs), said “it is designed to provide the infrastructure, platform and framework for the private sector to add value to Nigeria’s agricultural produce for the domestic, regional market and for the global community”.
He assured the investors that Nigeria is now open for partnership.
“We are open for discussions, for conversations towards fast-tracking the whole process. My principal, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is very eager to see that the full potential of the Nigerian agricultural sector is realised,” he said
“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.”
On his part, Brantley said the company’s proposed investment in Nigeria will unlock Nigeria’s agricultural potential by creating an organised approach to tractor-clearing services for smallholder farmers across the country.
He said the initiative to establish tractor assembly would require zero investment from the government, while credit guarantees would be needed to help make credit available at an affordable rate for interested persons or groups.
Brantley expressed the company’s readiness to immediately engage relevant authorities in Nigeria, with a view to actualising the objective of establishing the assembly plant.