Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello on Tuesday, May 14, announced that the state has spent N2.2billion to acquire 130 tractors and accessories ahead of the 2018 farming season.
Bello made the announcement at the state capital, Minna while inaugurating the 2018 farming season, fertilizer sales and distribution of tractors.
The governor said, the acquisition of the tractors was aimed at boosting agricultural mechanization ahead of the 2018 farming season, adding that the measure would ensure food security in the state and the nation at large.
”The state government in its deliberate efforts toward boosting agricultural mechanization activities has procured 130 tractors valued at N2.2billion,’’ he said.
Bello who emphasized that the equipment would be distributed to genuine farmers at 25 per cent subsidy, noted 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.
He disclosed that the state government has 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 are made by beneficiaries.
Speaking on farming, the governor hinted that the state has also procured 50 rice threshers for free distribution to farmers’ cooperative societies and unions to reduce post-harvest loss in rice production.
Bello said, ”We need to encourage all-season farming. To this end, we are intensifying partnership with some Chinese firms to utilize the 17 existing irrigation sites in the state, while developing new ones.’’
Bello said that government had also collaborated with Tak Fertlizer Company, to secure 15,000 metric tonnes for the 25 local government areas in the state.
He, however, warned that the fertilizers must be sold at government-approved price of N5, 500 per bag, noting that that anyone caught selling above the stipulated price would face the wrath of the law.
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Reiterating on the governor’s commitment, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Haruna Dukku, said the government is determined to achieve self-sufficiency in food production and employment generation.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr Shehu Galadima, commended the state government for its renewed gesture in pushing the boundaries of agriculture in the state, as he further assured that the farmers would put the tractors to good use.
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