Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger state on Tuesday said that the state government had procured 130 tractors and accessories worth N2.2 billion, to boost agricultural mechanisation ahead of the 2018 farming season.
Inaugurating the 2018 farming season, fertiliser sales and distribution of tractors in Minna, he said that the measure to procure tractors would ensure food security in the state and the nation at large.
“The state government in its deliberate efforts toward boosting agricultural mechanisation activities has procured 130 tractors valued at N2.2 billion,” Bello said adding that the equipment would be distributed to genuine farmers at 25 percent subsidy.
He further that the state government would soon take delivery of another set of 100 tractors through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) programme.
Bello said that the state government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Machine Equipment Consortium Africa (MECA) and Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) to manage the tractors until full payments were made by beneficiaries.
The governor said that government had also procured 50 rice threshers for free distribution to farmers’ cooperative societies and unions to reduce post-harvest loss in rice production.
“We need to encourage all-season farming. To this end, we are intensifying partnership with some Chinese firms to utilise the 17 existing irrigation sites in the state, while developing new ones,” he said.
Bello said that government had also collaborated with Tak Fertliser Company to secure 15,000 metric tonnes of NPK 20:10:10 fertilisers for the 25 local government areas in the state.
He warned that the fertilisers must be sold to farmers at government-approved price of N5,500 per bag.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Malam Haruna Dukku said that government was determined to achieve self-sufficiency in food production and employment generation.
The Chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Alhaji Shehu Galadima commended the state government for the gesture and promised that farmers would put the tractors into good use.