AGRICULTURE MECHANIZATION IN NIGERIA
Survey was undertake to assess the Anambra state Tractor Hiring Company. The study adopted the use of a questionnaire and interview schedules, discussion and personal observation for primary data collection. The unit had a total of 15 tractors 10 Disc ploughs, 6 Disc harrow 6 Discridgers, and 3 trailers, all in good working conditionexcept for one non functional tractor (scrap). The unit was poorly equipped with fairly adequate shed and was under staffed with a maintenanceculture that is service driven. The unit had very few beneficiaries due to high cost of hiring, limited number of availabletractors to hire, delay in service delivery, delays in acquiring spare parts needed for repairs, in accessibility due to remoteness of farms and size of farm holdings, poor land clearing, unskilled tractor operators and administrative bottlenecks. It is recommended that an alternative shed be provide and the workshop should be properly equipped and it structure properly renovated, and in there should be adequate funding to it by the state government in order to help the unit serve the state better.
1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Agriculture was and until the discovery of oil and oil boom of the 1970s, the mainstay of the Nigeria Economy cash crops such as cocoa, cotton, groundnut and livestock products contributed more than 70% of total exports. It provided employment for over 60% of the populaces most of whom were resident in the remote and rural areas of the country (source). Various food crops were also cultivated in sufficient quantities to meet the demand of the teeming population and Nigeria was one of the food self-sufficient countries of the world.(Ado, 2005; Anen, 2005; Balogun, 2001; Ikpi and Ikpi, 1998; Moorhead, 2005; Nwuba, 2009, Opafa 2006).
The discovery and exploration of crude oil as a more lucrative income earner for the country was the first major setback to the agricultural sector. Also the introduction of the nationwide Universal Primary Education (UPE) in the 1970s and free education in the country in 1979, further reduced farm labour are youths withdrew from the farms to go school. It becomes in caressingly difficult to feed the teeming masses and the country resorted to importing food to supplement the one grown at home. It was considered necessary to reserve the trend and the three approaches adopted were the use of improved and high yielding varieties of crops, use of agro-chemicals and expansion of hectares under cultivation by use of alternative source of power.
These lead to the use of tractors as an alternative source of power since animal power wasn’t applicable in most regions of the nation due to tse- tse fly attacks, and also an encouragement youths who have been discouraged from farming operations due to its drudgery. But due to the high cost of acquiring these tractors, hiring schemes were set up at different levels of government to enable farmers increase their agricultural productivity. (Anon, 1990; Nwuba, 1986;Onwualu et al, 2006; Anazodo et al, 1987; Hamidu and Simmon, 1999) Thus, tractors – hiring scheme was adopted by almostall the states in Nigerian, aimed at helping the small scale farmers increase their farms sizes. Hamidu and Simon (1999) reported that even though the establishment of tractor hiring service were expected to make farmers have access to tractors and implements for various farm operations, this opportunity has not been fully exploited by farmers because of irregular and untimely availability of these tractors due to frequent” breakdown, lack of spare parts and bureaucratic bottleneck
1.2. Significance of the study
The work when adopted will provide data and information which will be useful in the following ways-
1. To provide knowledge on the level of mechanization available from the unit in the state.
2. To provide knowledge of the technical capacity of the unit in repairs and maintenance of equipment.
3. To provide solution to improve the quantity and quality of service at the unit.
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. To asses how the unit activities are coordinated in state, federal and private owned ministries.
2. To determine the equipment inventory and conditions in the units adequacy of the units’ personnel shed and workshop facilities.
3. To assess the nature of services rendered and their charges.
4. To asses the maintenance culture of the unit and common problems faced during maintenance, and proffer solutions.
5. To observe the impact of the unit on the farming community.
SCOPE OF WORK
The scope of this work covers the assessment on the technical and operational capacity of south east states tractor hiring company.