Kano state government has released a grant of N132 million to the state branch of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) to facilitate its tractor lending programme, Gov. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has announced.
Ganduje made the announcement during the inauguration of 50 new tractors, purchased under the programme, initiated by AFAN, Kano State chapter, on Wednesday in Kano.
He said the seed money was meant to motivate the association to succeed in minimising the problem of mechanisation in the state.
“There is a huge gap inhibiting agricultural development in this country, which is mechanisation.
“Our agricultural production does not match the needs of our economic development and that is why we must support programmes such as this one to enable us to move ahead,” the governor said.
According to him, the government cannot buy tractors and give to farmers as loans.
“It is no longer practicable. Right from the distribution, politicians will hijack the tractors or the farmers themselves will collect the tractors, sell them and marry more wives.
“As a politician, if you decide to prosecute the farmers that defaulted on the loan, you will inevitably lose votes; so you reluctantly allow them to go unpunished.
“This is not the best. So, a sustainable way, like this programme, must be fashioned out to aid our mechanisation process.
“I am happy that this programme has brought together farmers, tractor manufacturing companies and agricultural agencies while the government is creating enabling environment for mechanising the operations of farmers and increasing productivity of their cultivated land, he stressed.”
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, explained that the programme targeted farmers’ cooperative societies, who are expected to deposit a small percentage of the cost of the tractor, while the repayment is spread over two years.
“The programme is supported by vendors like Mahindra Trucks, MECA Consortium Africa, TAK Tractors and Farm Track Tractors while the Development Partners have also been able to bring NIRSAL (Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending) into the arrangement.
“Accordingly, the facilities under this programme are guaranteed by NIRSAL to reduce risks,” Gawuna said.
The state chairman of AFAN, Alhaji Faruk Rabi’u Mudi, said the tractor loan was stress – free and without mortgaging of land such that farmers would be able to acquire tractors with ease as against obtaining them with bank loans.
Mudi urged the state government to support the association to establish a “Farmers Micro Finance Bank” that would help farmers to grow their businesses across all value chains of agriculture.
By Oluwashina Iyanda