Nigeria has about 71 million hectares of arable land yet it is not news flash that the western African nation is not fully invested in agriculture.
Most farmers in Nigeria practice subsistence farming which involves producing just enough to feed on.
Some others who practice commercial farming are small-scale farmers who use little or no technology on their farmlands.
This deficiency most times owes to ignorance of the importance of mechanized farming and also the lack of funds to get these equipment.
However, with the likes of Olufemi Odeleye who invented a tractor from a motorbike, the future of Nigerian agriculture doesn’t look so bleak.
The invention which is called the Tryctor was worked on for almost 10 years by Mr Odeleye.
“I identified the need to contribute to the number one Millennium Development Goal – to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty. I studied automobile design in the UK and on my return to Nigeria I started looking for ways in which I could contribute.”
The Tryctor works basically as a tractor, only a mini version. It also comes with implements such as a disc plough, harrow and trailer which easily transports farm harvests from the farm to its storage.
It can also function as a generator, powering the home of the farmer, and can be used to power processing machines as well as irrigation pumps.
The Nigerian government is currently working with Mr Odeleye to make his Tryctor available to Nigerian farmers.
Odeleye’s grandfather had been a farmer and he saw the potential this sector had in eradicating huger and poverty. On a day in 2004, he was in traffic in Nigeria, watching as motorcycles made their way around cars. It was there and then that he got the idea for the Tryctor.
“It has always been my design philosophy that you should use things you have at your disposal to solve problems. So I saw the motorbikes and I thought I should be able to use them to do something…
When I got home I immediately put pen to paper and did some sketches and modified a motorbike and about a month later I made a prototype, which was basically the first of seven prototypes,” he explained.
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Although Odeleye’s Tryctor is cheaper than the conventional tractor, he still deems it unaffordable (priced at ₦1.9m ($9,500)) to local small-scale farmers, he is hoping a rental partnership could work out in the future.
Odeleye’s advice to people aspiring to help Africa is this;
Look around you. If you genuinely have a desire to help Africa, then look at things relating to your field… or areas you are able to contribute to. There is always an alternative way to doing things and it might end up being simpler, easier and cheaper than conventional ways.
So as long as you have that mindset you will be able to innovate. And if you have passion, it will drive you through the whole, difficult process of bringing it to success.
We sure hope to see more of Odeleye’s Tryctor in our farmlands soon.