Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure Prof. Mohammad Haruna has said that N24.4bn has been approved by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired) for phase one of the scheme nation’s smart irrigation. .

In a statement, he said the nation was already trying to promote a multi-crop, seasonal agricultural program.

As part of a year-round abundant harvest plan, he added, the Federal Government has decided to establish six Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institutes in each of the nation’s geopolitical zones.

He said the institutes would teach farmers not just mechanized farming but modern farming techniques.

According to him, Nigeria has been collaborating with the Czech Republic and Jordan in modern agriculture and labor training in mechanized agriculture.

Haruna made the disclosures at the foundation laying of the Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute in Obudu, South-South Cross River State, according to the statement.

He said: “The administration of the President, Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari (Ret) had laid the groundwork to ensure a multi-crop seasonal agricultural program in Nigeria by approving N24.4bn for phase one of the smart irrigation scheme. The proliferation of mechanized agriculture is needed to meet the targeted bumper crop throughout the year, which informs the need for local production of tools and equipment and thus the approval of the six institutes across the country.

“One of the objectives of implementing the bilateral agreement between Nigeria and the Czech Republic approved by the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired) and administered by the Presidential Implementation Committee organized by NASENI, is to make agriculture attractive to youth through the deployment of mechanization and technology.

“NASENI’s recently trained experts in the Czech Republic and others in Jordan in modern agriculture are among the best Nigeria has ever produced in agricultural technology with capacity and knowledge in applying advances in agricultural technology, especially green agriculture.”

He added: “Each of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones is assigned an AMEDI to meet the Nation’s equipment needs. Three of these six farm equipment based institutes are being developed in Phase One. These are AMEDI-Lafia, Nasarawa State for North Central; AMEDI Mbutu Mbaise, Imo State for the southeast; and Obudu in the state of Cross River for Sur-Sur. Lafia and Mbutu are expected to enter service in March 2023.”

According to him, the institutes were mandated to invent and produce tools, parts, systems, and equipment and machinery for growing, planting, weeding, harvesting, husking, processing, and preserving through backward integration and domestication. of foreign technologies in agriculture copied by well-trained personnel. NASENI staff.

“AMEDI Obudu is one of two selected by NASENI’s Jordanian partners for the Modern Inclusive Agricultural Food Traceability pilot project being implemented using IOT devices for global acceptability of Nigerian food and cash crops to improve foreign exchange. through the export of agricultural products. ” he said.

In his speech, Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade praised the federal government for promoting the agricultural sector.

He said the institute will help boost agriculture in the state.