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FG orders 10,000 tractors, others from Brazil to boost agric

Oluwasina Phillip

The Federal Government is planning to buy 10,000 tractors from Brazil to boost agriculture in the country.

 The government also said it would establish “model grazing reserves” in selected states of the country next year.

The latest development came months after Nigerians in some sections of the country had expressed opposition to similar ideas.

Grazing reserves are areas set aside for the use of pastoralists and are intended to be the focus of livestock development.

Earlier, the Federal Government had mulled the idea of establishing a Rural Grazing Reserves, National Life Transformation Programme and other similar programmes aimed at putting an end to incessant clashes between farmers and herders.

But the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Abubakar, while appearing before the House of Representatives’ Joint Committee on Agricultural Production and Services for the 2022 budget defence in Abuja on Thursday, disclosed that the government would establish “model grazing reserves” in some states next year.

However, he did not disclose the details of how the government

Abubakar said the ministry will “establish model grazing reserves in selected states; and establish special agro-industrial processing zones in conjunction with the African Development Bank in seven states including the FCT.”

He added that the ministry would also “implement the Green Imperative Project in collaboration with the Brazilian Government that seeks to provide 10,000 units of tractors; 50,000 units of assorted implements and equipment to be assembled in the country.”

The minister, who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ernest Umakhihe, noted that the key derivable in the 2022 budget included rehabilitation and construction of water-harvesting structures and mini-earth dams in states to increase agricultural production in the country.

He also said the government would next year expedite the recapitalisation of two agricultural-related banks.

He said, “The ministry will launch the “Launch the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan 2021-2024, implement Phase One of agricultural mechanisation in 632 primary service centres and 142 secondary processing centres across the country.

“Fast-track the recapitalisation of the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation and Bank of Agriculture in collaboration with the CBN, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; and the BPE.””

Abubakar said a total sum of N291.416bn was proposed for the agricultural sector in 2022, out of which N71.840bn was meant for personnel cost.

He added that N3.704bn was proposed as overhead cost, while the sum of N215.872bn was meant for capital projects and programmes.

The minister recalled that N280.315bn was appropriated to the agricultural sector in the 2021 budget, noting that the reduction of the ministry’s core mandate’s budget from N46.990bn to N29.938bn (36.3 per cent) made it difficult to deliver the desired impact.

Members of the committee expressed satisfaction with the level of implementation of the 2021 budget and the N291.416bn proposed for 2022 proposals.

The lawmakers, however, said the officials of the ministry would be invited if they found any irregularity in the proposal.

The Chairman, Agricultural Production and Services Committee, Mohammed Dan-Dutse, said the lawmakers were aware of the various efforts of the Federal Government through policy formulation and special intervention programmes.

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