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‘Mechanisation, commercialisation ways to feed increasing African population’

Experts say mechanisation and commercialisation of agriculture are veritable ways to increase farm yields and feed increasing population of Africa.

The Managing Director of Agridrive, Mr. George Marechera and the Operation Officer, Mr. Jaye Yekini, suggested this while speaking with journalists in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Agridrive, an agricultural mechanisation provision, agribusiness and equipment support services firm, has its offices in Kenya and Ibadan.

They pointed out that though agriculture is a key sector in Nigeria, but lamented that mechanisation is missing, especially in cassava cultivation.

“24 per cent of women are in cassava production. We need to address the value chain in cassava. We need to commercialise agriculture if we want to feed Africa, the only way to do it is to commercialise agriculture.”

They hinted that the firm’s intervention would increase farm yield, reduce danger, increase efficiency, maximise the yield in productivity and effective time management.

They also disclosed that no fewer than 42,000 smallholder farmers in various communities have benefited from them in the areas of mechanised farming, improved seedlings, fertilisers and drone technology in cassava, rice and maize farming.

Marechera noted that his company has partnered with various states government in Nigeria to address the challenges facing smallholder farmers, who constitute a larger percentage in food production.

He noted that before the mechanisation intervention to smallholder farmers, the maximum yield of cassava per hectare in Nigeria was five tonnes but now farmers produce up to 25 tonnes.

The Kenyan agricultural expert said the value chain had also been positively affected as more employment has been created along the value chains such as transportation, logistics and processing.

He said: “We have interfaced with agriculture, technology and business. We actually introduced mechanisation farming to smallholder farmers in Nigeria. We went to local communities of farmers with one hectare of land for each smallholder farmer, for mechanisation to be achievable, since tractors are used.”

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