2018 Farming Season: Niger purchases N2.2bn tractors, accessories

AHEAD of the 2018 farming season, Governor Abubakar Bello led Niger state government has procured 130 tractors and other accessories worth N2.2 billion, aims at boosting agricultural mechanisation in the state.

The governor made this known while inaugurating the 2018 farming season, fertiliser sales and distribution of tractors in Minna, the state capital.

According to him, the measure 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 that the equipment would be distributed to genuine farmers at 25 per cent subsidy, adding 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, also disclosed further 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 hinted that his administration had also procured 50 rice threshers for free distribution to farmers’ cooperative societies and unions to reduce post-harvest loss in rice production.

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“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.

Warning that the fertilisers must be sold at government-approved price of N5, 500 per bag, the governor noted that anybody caught selling above this price would face the law.

In his remarks, 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.

Alhaji Shehu Galadima, Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in the state, lauded the state government for the gesture, just as he promised that farmers would put the tractors into good use.

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