Mechanization is an intrinsic part of the agricultural process. In some countries, mechanization means a major improvement in the agricultural sector. However in Nigeria, despite the relevance of farm mechanization, the process of adoption seems slow, this can be attributed to the high rate of ignorance, poverty, access to finance, little or no policies, projects to help increase the affordability of these farm machineries and accessibility of these machineries to smallholders farmer.
To embrace agricultural mechanization, one of the farm mechanization technologies that Nigerian farmers must have access to is the tractor. The tractor used in some other countries over the years has been impressive, although the same cannot be said about Nigeria. Most Nigerian farmers still use hand tools for cultivation. Smallholder farmers are the backbone of agriculture in Nigeria, about 80% of the yearly food production in the country are from Smallholder farmers, who use human labor in the place of mechanization. Imagine the output of food production in the country if tractor services are utilized. Some smallholders farmer who are aware of the relevance and benefits associated with agricultural mechanization find so much difficulty accessing farm machineries. One of the reasons for their inability to access these farm machineries was because accessibility was determined by political patronage and social network. This was a big disadvantage to smallholder farmers who were not in such networks.
Another factor limiting access to tractors by smallholder farmers in Nigeria is the cost of tractor hiring services and inadequate sources of hiring points. These farmers do not have the resources to own their tractors, which clearly leaves them to other options such a hiring tractor individually or in groups. However, getting to these farmers to acquire or patronize the use of farm machineries is still a mirage. As a result of this, some private tractor vendors designed models which help to reach smallholder farmers and encourage them to use farm machineries on a sustainable basis. One of such models is the hiring and booking agent model designed by the Tractor Owners and Hiring Facilities Association of Nigeria; TOHFAN. This model requires that the agents are located at very accessible points in different communities to enable farmers to reach them easily. These agents are able to properly aggregate the demands of these farmers so that they are satisfied with the services rendered.
There is also a need for the government to look into the regulation of cost for hiring tractors. This will also aid the accessibility of tractors by smallholder farmers in Nigeria.