Mohammad Haruna, Executive Vice President of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), says President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N24.4 billion for phase one of the smart irrigation scheme for the nation’s agricultural sector.

Haruna revealed this on Thursday at the foundation laying of the Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Development Institute (AMEDI) in Obudu, Cross River state.

Haruna said that as part of a year-round abundant harvest plan, the federal government decided to establish six AMEDIs in each of the geopolitical zones.

The AMEDIs would teach farmers not only mechanized farming, but also modern farming techniques, he said.

In addition, the NASENI chief said that Nigeria had been collaborating with the Czech Republic and Jordan on modern agriculture and labor training in mechanized agriculture.

“President Buhari’s administration had laid the foundation to ensure a multi-crop season agricultural program in Nigeria by approving N24.4 billion for phase one of the smart irrigation scheme,” he said.

“The proliferation of mechanized agriculture is needed to meet the target bumper crop throughout the year, which informs the need for local production of tools and equipment and therefore the approval of the six institutes across the country.

“One of the goals of implementing a bilateral agreement between Nigeria and the Czech Republic approved by President Buhari and administered by the presidential implementation committee organized by NASENI is to make agriculture attractive to youth by deploying 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.”

Haruna further said that phase I of the six agricultural institutes is located in three states.

“Each of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones is assigned an AMEDI to meet the nation’s equipment needs. Three of these six agricultural equipment-based institutes are developing in phase one,” he added.

“These are AMEDI-Lafia, Nasarawa state for north-central; AMEDI Mbutu Mbaise, Imo State for the southeast, and Obudu in Cross River State for the south-south. Lafia and Mbutu are expected to enter service in March 2023.

“Institutes are 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 staff. of NASENI.

“AMEDI Obudu is one of two selected by Jordanian NASENI partners for the all-inclusive modern agricultural food traceability pilot project that is being implemented using Internet of Things (IOT) devices for global food acceptability and Nigerian cash crops to improve currency exchange through export of agricultural products.

“The AMEDIs will teach farmers not only mechanized farming, but also modern agricultural techniques that use technology to improve yields per hectare of farmland for excellent harvest and profitability.”

For his part, Ben Ayade, governor of the state, praised the federal government for promoting the agricultural sector.