Minister tells committee, you will write your name in Gold if programme is successful
From: Bamidele Fashube, (GVE) ABUJA
THE Federal Government has commenced discussions with three international banks – Deutsche Bank (DB), Brazilian Exim Bank and Islamic Development Bank to procure 10,000 units of tractors and 50, 000 units of assorted implement for assemblage in Nigeria.
The talk is to get a $1.1 billion foreign loans facility to facilitate the project.
However, Muhammad Sabo Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development disclosed that N150 million has already been secured from the $1.1 billion targeted sum.
He added that the N150 million has already been released to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
Speaking at the weekend in Abuja during the inauguration of the implementation committee on “The Green Imperative,” Nanono explained that the loan has 3per cent interest rate over a period of 15years , including a moratorium of 3years for the Brazilian Exim Bank and 7 years including 2years moratorium for the Deutsche Bank.
He said the programme was also designed to train the project beneficiaries for over 10 years in Nigeria, adding that 780 Service Centres would be established which would help smallholder farmers to prepare the soil, cultivate, produce and harvest farm produce and maintain equipment.
According to the minister, the project would benefit 100,000 young people directly and impact on 5,000,000 people indirectly.
His word: “The objective of the proposed project in Nigeria is to further develop our agricultural based on a sustainable private business model, through a food value chain approach, involving a full technology package transfer that will cover all stages from agricultural production to industrial processing and marketing.
“This project will be a landmark achievement to drive the agricultural sector of Nigeria to the next level.”
“The Green Imperative” emanated from the More Food International Programme (MFIP), which was a project initiated by Brazil to support agricultural development across the world.
Some of the countries already implementing the MFIP include Mozambique, Ghana, Senegal and Zimbabwe, adding that the project would enhance agricultural mechanization, specialised extension services and agro-processing in the 774 LGAs and six Area Councils in the FCT, Abuja.
He particularly emphasised that Brazillian government would bring a team of experts to live in the country for five years, to train local farmers and entrepreneurs on agriculture and farming.
This, the minister noted would lead to the establishment of a factory to assemble farming machinery which would be distributed to Service Centres to be located in all the 109 Senatorial Districts in the country.
“The Service Centres would in turn lease out these machinery to local farmers who cannot afford to buy them for a short period of time, after which they will be returned to the Centre.”
He lamented that despite the population of 200 million people, Nigeria has only 7,000 functional tractors across the country.
He however advised the committee members, which he is the chairman, to work ensure the project is a success by achieving its objectives.