A United States-based company, John Deere, has pledged to set up a tractor assembly plant in Nigeria.
Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Communications, Stanley Nkwocha, disclosed this in a statement he signed on Monday titled, ‘As Shettima woos investors in the US: American firm, John Deere, to establish a tractor assembly plant in Nigeria.’
Nkwocha described the proposition as one of the gains in foreign investments recorded from Vice President Kashim Shettima’s visit to the United States.
John Deere revealed its interest in investing in Nigeria’s agricultural sector during a meeting between VP Shettima and top company officials led by its Vice President on Production Systems, Mr Jason Brantley.
Shettima said Nigeria is committed to transforming agriculture as a pathway to tackling insecurity and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
He observed, “Without mechanisation, you can never be truly self-sufficient in food production. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is fully committed to revitalizing the Nigerian agricultural sector.
“And for us to be self-sufficient in food production, three key elements are essential. First is certified seeds, then mechanization, provision of fertilizer and of course, agricultural extension services.”
The VP who spoke on the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones project stated that “it is designed to provide the infrastructure, platform and framework for the private sector to add value to Nigeria’s agricultural produce for the domestic, regional market and for the global community.”
He assured the investors that Nigeria is now open for partnership, saying, “We are open for discussions, for conversations towards fast-tracking the whole process. My principal, President Bola Tinubu, is very eager to see that the full potential of the Nigerian agricultural sector is realised.
“The President declared a food security emergency in August this year fundamentally anchored on the fact that we are exposed to all the volatility in the world. We are vulnerable, we are exposed.
“This is why we are putting in place the mechanisms towards addressing challenges in the sector and we cannot afford to do otherwise”.
Earlier, Mr. Brantley divulged the company’s proposed investment in Nigeria, promising that the project will unlock Nigeria’s agricultural potential by creating an organised approach to tractor-clearing services for smallholder farmers across the country.
According to Brantley, it would require zero investment from the government, while credit guarantees would be needed to help make credit available at an affordable rate for interested persons or groups.
The John Deere VP expressed the company’s readiness to immediately engage relevant authorities in Nigeria, with a view to actualising the objective of establishing the assembly plant.
The meeting, facilitated by the Chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria, Mr. John Coumantaros, also had in attendance the Minister of Agriculture, Sen. Abubakar Kyari; the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Lot Egopija, and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agribusiness and Productivity, Dr. Kingsley Uzoma, among others.