John Deere, an American company, has announced plans to build a tractor assembly plant in Nigeria. This is the latest in a series of foreign investment deals secured by Vice President Kashim Shettima’s recent visit to the United States.
The meeting between VP Shettima and John Deere executives was facilitated by the chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria, Mr John Coumantaros. Other attendees included the Minister of Agriculture, Sen. Abubakar Kyari; the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Ambassador Lot Egopija; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agribusiness and Productivity, Dr Kingsley Uzoma.
Speaking at the meeting, VP Shettima emphasized the Nigerian government’s commitment to transforming agriculture as a way to tackle insecurity and improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. He noted that mechanization is essential for self-sufficiency in food production.
The VP also highlighted the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) project, which is designed to provide the infrastructure, platform, and framework for the private sector to add value to Nigeria’s agricultural produce for domestic, regional, and global markets.
VP Shettima assured the investors that Nigeria is open for partnership and that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is eager to see the full potential of the Nigerian agricultural sector realized.
John Deere’s Vice President on Production Systems, Mr Jason Brantley, spoke about the company’s proposed investment in Nigeria. He assured that the project will unlock Nigeria’s agricultural potential by creating an organized approach to tractor-clearing services for smallholder farmers across the country.
Brantley said that the initiative to establish the tractor assembly plant will require zero investment from the government, but that credit guarantees will be needed to help make credit available at an affordable rate for interested persons or groups. He also expressed the company’s readiness to immediately engage relevant authorities in Nigeria to make the project a reality.