Nigeria’s farmers are increasingly mechanising their operations, to maximise harvests and deliver increased food security to people throughout the country. Led by our CEO, Onajite Okoloko, Notore ensures our customers have the supplies they need to make the most of modern farming equipment.
Modernising Nigerian farming
The days where farmers work solely by hand to produce the crops needed to feed our people are receding. The development of mechanised farming technology, ranging from tractors to combine harvesters, is destined to benefit Nigeria’s farmers, allowing them to cultivate harvests with minimal labour, so they can bring greater food security.
Commenting, Mr Okoloko said: “The rising availability of agricultural equipment is leading to the modernisation of farming in Nigeria, giving farmers the ability to generate stable food supplies for their communities and maximise profit, so they can forge better lives for themselves. At Notore, we are devoted to ensuring that our customers can capitalise on modern equipment to achieve these aims.”
Bringing about food security
Efforts such as those championed by Notore, to give our farmers the opportunity to realise the benefits of mechanised farming, are vital. Most of our citizens earn their livelihood through agriculture, while the sector comprises around 24% of Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP), so if we can help farmers make their operations more efficient, the national economy will thrive.
We are facing serious food shortages in this country, so by enabling greater mechanisation, we can bolster food supplies and ensure the people we live and work alongside can enjoy a decent quality of life. Also our country is overcrowded, with a population of roughly 182 million, and it is projected to grow to just under 400 million by 2050, so it is essential that we usher in universal farm mechanisation as soon as possible, so farmers can focus on increasing production.
Tracking produce losses
It may be challenging, even with the assistance of firms such as Notore, for farmers to meet rising agricultural demand, as farming operations in Nigeria are inefficient. According to The Nation, a local news outlet, Nigeria annually posts US$9 billion in post-harvest losses, due to a lack of processing facilities, so a significant share of produce never makes it to dinner tables across the country.
These shortfalls have undoubtedly been exacerbated by low farm mechanisation as, if farmers lack modern equipment, it is harder for them to harvest crops efficiently. Mechanisation rates are currently low, as national newspaper Leadership notes, 70% of farming activity in this country is currently carried out by hand with tools such as hoes.
Exploring the benefits
If our farmers use modern equipment instead, along with innovations such as improved seeds, they could see real benefits. Evidence shows that it takes a farmer a full day to weed one hectare of farmland, for example, but with a tractor they can do this in just 1 hour 20 minutes. The same farmer can produce enough food to fulfil the dietary requirements of just five people per year if they use hand held tools, but with modern equipment, they fulfil this target for around 300 people.
By boosting production, the country’s farmers can reduce post-harvest losses and bring more produce to market, opening up more revenue streams – so there is a real economic benefit to mechanised farming. An editorial in The Sun, a national newspaper, argues that greater farm mechanisation could prove particularly useful for the nation’s rural areas, which produce 75% of Nigeria’s agricultural output, but are some of the least developed regions in the country, so the wealth afforded by improved production could inject the capital these economies need to lift themselves into prosperity.
Tackling serious issues
It will not be easy for our local farmers to reap the benefits brought by mechanisation, as they often face steep cost barriers when trying to purchase farming equipment. It costs, for example, between N2 million and N8 million for a 65-horse power tractor without implements, which is beyond the reach of most farmers in this country. Also there is a shortage in available equipment, for instance local news outlet Daily Post reveals that there are just 30,000 tractors in this country – we need one million.
Our federal government is increasingly focusing on tackling these issues, so the country’s farmers can utilise modern farming equipment more easily to maximise crop production rates. The authorities, for example, are aiming to make Nigeria a self-sufficient rice producer by 2018, and to enable this they are looking to supply farmers across the nation with rice reaper machines – which reduce production times and costs by automatically cutting and harvesting paddy, to raise production rates.
Lending a helping hand
It would be impossible for our farmers to capitalise on the benefits of mechanisation, if they cannot grow strong, bountiful crops to harvest with machinery. This is where we come in – Notore supplies scientifically improved seeds for crops such as rice and maize, which are designed to help farmers increase their crop yields, and boost production. Also through our subsidiary, Notore Power, we work to generate the stable electricity supplies our customers need to use mechanised equipment.
Expanding, Mr Okoloko said: “We always look to extend a helping hand to our customers, so we supply the affordable improved seeds, as well as power generation services, that they require to capitalise on the gradual rise of agricultural mechanisation in Nigeria. Progress may be slow but it is coming so, as the authorities work to bring new farming technologies to local communities, together we can all contribute to our efforts to increase farming output and facilitate greater food security.”