Fadama 111, Additional Financing says it has established 19 Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises (AEHE) Centres in 14 states with 56 new tractors to meet the mechanisation service need of farmers at affordable price.
Mr Tayo Adewunmi, the National Project Coordinator, Fadama 111 Programme, disclosed this in Abuja while speaking with journalists.
Adewunmi said that the AEHE centres were established to compliment the Federal Government’s efforts of reducing manual labour and drudgery associated with rural agriculture through mechanisation.
According to him, AEHE is to be managed and operated by Federated Fadama Community Association (FFCA), created with the aim of sustaining the investment of the project.
“It is expected to provide guidance to the continuous operation of the Fadama Groups long after the project closure by Dec. 31, this year.
“This has contributed to job creation in the country by provided 392 direct jobs across the 14 participating states.
“Facilitated capacity build of FFCAs and management staff of the AEHE centres on operation and maintenance of tractors and implements.
“The effort of the centres has yielded enormous gains for the farmers and the project which made World Bank rated the performance of the project satisfactory with 373 per cent increment of farmers.’’
He said although the project would end this year, it was facing many challenges that had been slowing down its pace, adding that the FFCAs had 35 per cent Beneficial Contribution (BC).
“Other challenges like capacity gap in operation and maintenance of the enterprise and tractors leakages in the management of revenue as a result of non-availability of banking facility where AEHE are operated.’’
Adewunmi said that the Fadama was partnering with Machine and Equipment Corporation Africa (MECA) to proffer solutions to the sustainability and the challenges facing by FFCAs.
He said that the agreement signed between FADAMA and MECA would maintain, manage and commercially operate the centres and tractors.
“It will provide professionalism, technical competence and it needs utmost good faith in safeguarding the integrity and operational worthiness of the tractors.
“It will also ensure the complete repayment of 35 per cent outstanding BC to Fadama 111 AF and profitability.
“The agreement will facilitate further access to funding and support for the FFCAs through Ministry of Agriculture, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank and Central Bank of Nigeria among others being expected.’’
Coordinator urged the FFCAs not to be afraid as MECA was only taking over the assets, saying the AEHE centres still belonged to FFCAs.
He assured FFCAs that the centres property would be theirs, the moment the pending liabilities to the project with MECA were fully recovered.
Mr Iliya Gashinbaki, the Group Country Director of MECA, said that the agreement MECA signed with Fadama would automatically improve food production, ease farming processing and increase farmers’ income.
Gashinbaki said that agricultural mechanisation value chain cuts across from land development to land preparation, crop care, processing, storage and warehouse.
“It is an end to end project looking through all the value chain.
“The Fadama Federated Unit that we are helping to manage tractors are already on ground and beyond them we have direct link to other farmers.
“The key thing about this agreement is that at the end, we are going to meet the major outcome of Fadama which is to increase the income of farmers.
“We will provide affordable and accessible assess to mechanisation services which before now, it did not exist,’’ MECA director said.