The National Vice President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in charge of Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, Chief Giandomenico Massari, has called on Nigeria to prioritize agriculture to attain sustainable economic growth instead of focusing on just oil and gas.

He made the call in Port Harcourt during the unveiling of a 120-horse power multipurpose tractor manufactured by Bob Track Tractors in Port Harcourt to boost mechanize farming in Nigeria.

The Italian-born who has lived in Nigeria for 46 years pointed out that Nigeria has the capacity to manufacture top quality products like the Bob Track Tractors to fast track an agricultural revolution that would impact growth in our economy.

This also is the stand of Mr Ibifiri Bobmanuel, President of the Rivers State Entrepreneur and Investors’ Forum, and the MD/CEO of Bob Track Tractors, assembler of tractors in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

He also cautioned against the conclusion that anything manufactured in the country cannot measure up with those manufactured abroad, noting that such a mindset undermines the efforts of dedicated people who believe in the country’s capacity for excellence.

He said: “Nigerians must change the mentality of importing things. Nigeria can produce top-quality products both for consumption and for export. We must change the mentality that anything produced in Nigeria is not top standard.

“Proudly made in Nigeria is something that can be attached to our products. Manufacturing is the area that can give the highest number of jobs.”

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He said MAN in its own little way tries to support manufacturing to create jobs and boost the economy, adding that the agriculture revolution being spearheaded by Bob Track Tractors is in the best interest of the country.

In his submission, Ibifiri Bobmanuel said while oil and gas had always received the needed attention in the country over the years, the current global economic trend, however, places it weight behind agriculture in terms of the number of jobs the latter creates, and the wealth.

He said most tractors in use in the country are not compatible with our weather conditions and the soil type, pointing out that they were hurriedly imported from climes with entirely different weather and soil demands.

According to Bobmanuel, Nigerians must begin to think of how to feed themselves, but must first change the agriculture culture where farming is like punishment, and embrace mechanization to cover more areas and record massive gains.

“Agriculture in Nigeria is like punishment. Our products will help smallholder farmers to move into mechanized farming. With mechanization, agriculture is big.

“We started with 80 horsepower and we are doing very well in the North. Our potential is not in the oil; the potential in agriculture far outstrips what we have in other areas.”