MECHANIZATION IS KEY TO ACHIEVING SELF-SUFFICIENCY AS A NATION – SAYS ANTTI RITVONEN
The Country Manager/Chief Executive Officer of Dizengoff Nigeria, Mr. Antti Ritvonen, says that “Nigeria has all it takes to feed itself, Africa and other regions of the world, provided mechanization is combined with knowledge-based best practices in modern agriculture” he stated this during a Farmers’ Field day held in Ilorin, Kwara State.
He said what remained in the agricultural revolution in the county were the need to train farmers to know more about modern agriculture and sizeable level of resource commitment to the sector.
At the forum, Dizengoff exposed participants who were drawn from the corporate agric firms, the state government and the small scale farmers to a wide variety of innovations in agricultural mechanization and technologies. These includes greenhouse technology, drip irrigation, cost effective tractors, selective weed control agrochemicals and battery powered sprayer and irrigators, which combine to make farming commercial, industrial and revolutionary.
Mr. Ritvonen added that farmers need to realize that agricultural business was good if people could do it right, seeing it as a serious investment that had the potential to bring great returns.
He reiterated the readiness of the Dizengoff to partner with the state government, agencies, corporate and individual farmers on the modern technologies, equipment and inputs for a more prosperous Nigeria.
Special Adviser to the Kwara State governor on Agriculture & Rural Water Support Services, Hon. Anu Ibiwoye, claimed that agriculture was paramount in the agendas of the state and that the state was moving from subsistence food production to agric commercialization and industrialization, especially in cashew, Shea butter nuts and cassava production, to mention but a few.
Permanent Secretary in the state ministry of agric, Leader Simeon Opowoye, added that manual agriculture was ineffective, expensive, intensive and extensive, making it irrelevant in the modern age of food production, industrial raw materials requirements.
Oscar Walumbe, Integrated Project Country Manager, Greenhouse unit of Dizengoff, said “greenhouses helps to bridge the gap between weather extremes to stabilize vegetable production”. He advised farmers never to produce what they like but what the market demands, saying greenhouses help farmers use less resources but getting greater produce and higher return on investment.