Nigeria imported $60m worth of agricultural machinery between January and November,2018, according to the data obtained from the United States export portal.
The amount is $10m above what was imported in 2017.
In 2017, the country imported $50m worth of machinery, about $20m above the value imported in 2016, and $10.09m worth of this was imported from the US.
Nigeria’s agricultural sector is dominated by smallholder farmers who work on an average of four to five acres each, under rain-fed conditions. Most of them lack knowledge of modern practices, have insufficient capital and own little or no equipment of their own. As a result, much of the farm machinery, seeds and chemicals they require are purchased and distributed to them by the government
According to the report, there are about 10 relatively large commercial scale farms in Nigeria, deploying some form of mechanised processes, adding that these and a few construction companies can purchase tractors for agricultural and non-agricultural purposes.
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The report noted that US agricultural equipment manufacturers and suppliers were beginning to actively play in the Nigerian market.
It stated in part, “For example, in May, John Deere reached a deal with Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture to supply 10,000 tractors while Hello Tractor will manage this large fleet with its telematics device and provide technology advice from its Mustard IT support team.
“Generally, multinational food processing companies are embracing backward integration strategies, by either establishing their own commercial farms or empowering small farmers through out-grower programmes.”
The Deputy Director-General, Partnerships for Delivery, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Dr Kenton Dashiell, had said that mechanised farming was the best way to increase crop yield and boost agricultural output in Nigeria.
Nigeria, according to reports, invests over $11bn on food imports annually.
He noted that Nigeria with such a large population had growing food needs and large scale mechanised farming was needed to solve the hunger challenge and reduce food imports in the country.