The federal government has commenced the of farm machines to farmers, as it begins fresh move to end the lingering crisis between farmers, herdsmen and create more employment opportunities amongst youths.
The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, while distributing the machines at Oja village, Okpomaju in Otukpo Local government area of Benue State at the weekend, said the machines which can chop grain stalks to feed animals especially cattle, would be operated by youths which will be a source of income to them.
Chief Ogbe explained that the machines which include rice threshers, reapers and cattle feed mill will be used by the rice farmers to process rice and also process feed which they can sell to herdsmen.
He stated that the government did make the move alone to end farmer/ herders clash but to create more employment opportunities for youths and encourage them to go into agriculture.
“We are spreading all over, in the next few weeks you will see us distributing these machines, I came here specifically because the farmer has 27 hectares and requested government’s support. Soon, the distribution will spread nationwide.
“What we saw in the farm is the solution, and we believe that now harvesting is beginning, between now and the end of the year, we would have harvested quite a lot of residue and provided enough feed for the cattle in different parts of the country.
“There has been seminars, workshops and sensitisation with traditional rulers to solve the problem, what will solve the problem is to find feed for the cattle which we have provided cattle feed mill that will convert grain stalks to animal feeds to avoid crisis,” he said.
Earlier, the Otukpo traditional ruler, Chief John Eyimonye commended the federal government’s effort in revamping agriculture.
Chief Eyimonye noted that with the assistance from government, farmers will be encouraged to go into large farming without regret.
He however urged the government to help resolve the challenges of farmers which include, lack of access road and mechanised farm implements which stand in the way of local production.
Also speaking, the fabricator of the machines, Charles Frimpong, said the thresher which has the capacity to thresh 2 to 2.5 tons of rice paddy per hour, are durable and affordable.
He said: “We have come out with few machines and the results are quite interesting, so what we intend doing is to put in more hands on deck so that we can produce as much as possible to cover as much areas as we can.
“We are into manufacturing and fabrication of agriculture and Agro allied machines, for this programme, we brought in rice threshers, we also brought in rice reapers, after cultivation, during harvesting, you have to use the reapers to harvest which makes it faster, then after the harvest, you now pass it to the thresher”.
“In the traditional way, they use the sickle to harvest the rice, then thresh them manually, even if you put 100 people, they can’t do much, the machines we brought in have a capacity to do between 2 to 2.5 tons per hour, meaning that it will make the job much faster, it also have a willowing device, so it also clean, giving you a clean paddy.
Then we brought in crop waste chopper, after you have Harvest, it goes through the thresher, you have the straws as the, what do we do with them, we have to now process them to animal feed, cattle feed for instance, so it has to go into a plant that will shred it into smaller particles where you will now have to add molasses and other micro ingredients to produce cow feed,” he said,” he said.
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