The Nigeria Strategy Support Program (NSSP) is pleased to announce the publication of Tractor Owner-Operators in Nigeria by Hiroyuki Takeshima, Hyacinth Edeh, Akeem Lawal, and Moshud Isiaka as the 1355th publication in the IFPRI Discussion Paper Series. The IFPRI Discussion Paper was published on June 20, 2014.
Abstract: Agricultural mechanization is integral to agricultural transformation in countries like Nigeria. Despite the perceived rise in farm labor costs, most farmers still rely on manual labor or draught animals for farming activities, and tractor users are limited. In Nigeria, private tractor owners, rather than government hiring service units, provide a majority of plowing service. Unlike other more scale-neutral inputs, such as fertilizer and improved seeds, significant economies of scale may exist in tractors, which may justify certain public interventions. Understanding the characteristics of tractor service providers is therefore essential in designing an appropriate agricultural mechanization policy. However, information regarding the nature of tractor service provisions is scarce, especially in countries like Nigeria. This paper presents results of a small survey of tractor owner-operators conducted in Kaduna and Nasarawa states in Nigeria. Following are the key findings from simple descriptive statistics: (1) owner-operators who buy tractors from the private market or from private individuals are more efficient than those who receive tractors through government programs, providing services to a greater area at lower costs, including during the off-peak season; (2) providing access to a wider range of tractor horse powers may improve efficiency over diverse soil types; (3) similar to some Asian countries in the 1980s, tractor operations are mostly concentrated in interviewees’ local home districts, though a fraction form groups and serve in distant locations to earn greater revenues. This paper concludes with a discussion of some policy implications.