From: Azeez Ibrahim, Abuja
Niger State government has partnered the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System For Agriculture Lending (NIRSAL) to boost farm yields through mechanised farming.
Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger state, while hosting NIRSAL management and Management of Machine and Consortium Africa (MECA) at the Government house, said he will improve agricultural activities in the state.
The Managing Director, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhamid in Minna said the partnership between the state and NIRSAL would better lots of the local farmers.
He also said his administration will extend its partnership to different areas of agricultural production.
Expressing optimism in the partnership, Bello said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) owned agency would engage in the maintenance of all farm equipments in the state to avoid mismanagement and to ensure long lifespan of the equipment.
The Governor expressed optimism on the partnership saying it will help his administration build a well-structured maintenance scheme for tractors.
“I believe there is a lot we can do. The CBN ABP concentrated more on rice but now we are going tap into other areas like feedlots, cattle fattening scheme, improving agricultural institutes in the state as well as plan towards developing a value-chain that has to do with cattle, starting from the Feedlot to the abattoir, to the meat processing among others.
“The maintenance of our tractors is very important, MECA and Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria will be in charge of our equipment to ensure proper maintenance.”
“We have seen incidences in the past where the government buys tractors but we end up seeing our tractors in other states and sometimes in other countries because of subsidy it became an avenue for corruption or patronage and that will not take us anywhere if we are really serious about agriculture.
“Tractors are meant for a purpose and they must be used for such purposes.” He added.
Earlier, MD NIRSAL, Aliyu Abdulhamid said partnership is aimed at ending trend of wasteful spending of scarce resources on agricultural equipment that end up wasting away in various parts of the state.
Abdulhamid also disclosed that 200 brand new tractors would be purchased by the Niger State Government with the support of NIRSAL Credit Risk Guarantee.
According to him, NISRAL through MECA would also carry out auditing, inspecting, repairing, managing and maintaining heavy-duty equipment in the state.
“We have gotten responses from other states across the country, 18 states to be precise, but Niger State is first among equals.“ he added.