The farm Mechanization unit is one of the research support ordain of National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike. (NRCRI), that provides farm based services to the commodity programmes and units, both for research and production activities.
The Research farm of NRCRI, Umudike QH is 240 hectares (Ha) of land and is grouped into Western and Eastern farm and separated by the Umuahia Ikot-Epkene road.
Every year, 45-50 percent of the total land area is cultivated, and this is for effective notation management to ensure sustainability in our production system here at Umudike.
The cassava transformation agenda of the federal government of Nigeria and the Root and tuber crops expansion initiative have lead to increased production of the Institute’s mandate crops especially cassava and yam, resulting in intensive field preparation with an average annual increase of over 15.6 percent of land cultivated from 2007 to 2013.
Objectives of the Unit
- Timely field preparations for experimental and production purposes
- Proper field maintenances eg. Clearing of farm roads, over grown coutour bonds, and erosion control.
- Conservation of the resource base of our production system
- Planning and execution of premature maintenance of farm machines and Implements use
- Manpower truing and development for tractor machine operators.
Impact of the unit’s activities vis-à-vis the institute mandate
Farm Mechanization is the engine house of NRCRI Umudike.
Tractorization has may advantages which is a function of the characteristics of an agricultural system- thus persuading a farmer to use motorized input on his farm.
The most obvious benefit is the work potential of tractors’ versus hand labour and animal traction. The labour requirements for preparing one hectare (ha) of land for planting root and tuber crops using drought animals power are only 12% of that required when using land labour, but when using a tractor, with complementary implements, thus falls to less than 1%, increasing labour productivity tremendously.
As labour is a constant in many farming communities, the use of tractors brings the opportunity to expand the hectarage, thus increasing the farmers annual output.
Tractorization is likely to have an even greater potential for area expansion as long as land is available, labour productivity for root and tuber crops production increase considerably.