Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has disclosed that his administration had spent over N2 billion on the purchase of 130 tractors and implements.
He further revealed that the state sold the equipment to farmers’ Cooperative Societies across that state to encourage agricultural mechanisation in the state.
The Governor made this known during Niger state Special Day at the ongoing National Agricultural Show holding in Tudun Wada, Karu LGA of Nasarawa state.
Represented by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Haruna Nuhu Dukku, the governor said: “We went a step further to by handing over the management of these tractors to the Tractors Owners’ Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) and Machine and Equipment Consortium Africa (MECA). They are vested with powers of managing and operating the Tractors on behalf of beneficiaries until repayments are completed.”
Bello also revealed that his administration distributed 50 units of rice threshers valued at N19.74 million to cooperative groups to ease rice processing for enhanced value addition.
The governor Bello added that he keyed into the CBN programme for young people by releasing its counterpart funding to the tune of N142 million to jump start the implementation.
He listed the programmmes to include; the Anchor Borrowers Program where he said that over 20,000 farmers were cultivating Rice, Soya Beans and Cotton, and Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme aimed at providing employment opportunities.
“For this, more than 10,000 youth are to be engaged in cultivating Rice, Maize and Soya Beans.”
Under Governor Bello’s watch, the state has succeeded in eliminating middlemen in the fertilizer distribution process for 2018.
He said the state had deliberately reformed the fertilizer distribution network to remove corrupt practices associated with the exercise by selling directly to the farmers.
“We deliberately reformed the process of selling fertilizers to farmers by eliminating most forms of corruption and middlemen syndrome by evolving a policy that allows us to partner with agro inputs dealers in the state who then sell fertilizer directly to the farmers at government approved price.
“Using already established farmers’ data and their locations based on the past- implemented national growth enhancement support program (GES) the distribution was seamless.”
On his part, the Commissioner, whose speech was read by his counterpart in Livestock and Fisheries, Alhaji Zakari Bala, urged investors to invest in the states’ agric sector saying the present administration has created enabling environment for agro business to thrive with agricultural investment incentives which encourages mechanisation.
He said: “This is in line with the determination of the present administration in the state to leverage on out vast potentials in agricultural and solid minerals sectors to boost the economy and improve the socioeconomic status of Nigerlites and Nigerians in general.”