Niger Partners NIRSAL On Mechanised Farming
Niger State Government says it has concluded plans to partner with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) to boost mechanized farming through the agricultural value-chain opportunities.
While hosting the management of NIRSAL in Government House, Minna, Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello stated that the partnership under the pilot model for agricultural mechanization for sub-national governments would go a long way in improving the various agricultural activities in the state.
Niger will take advantage of the land mass and agrarian nature of the state to cash on other existing comparative advantages, he said, adding: “I believe there is a lot the Niger State government and NIRSAL can do together in order to maximize opportunities in the agricultural value-chain.”
Bello said the CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme concentrated more on rice. “But now, we are going to tap into other areas like feedlots, improving agricultural institutes and planning towards developing a value chain that has to do with cattle, starting from the feedlot to the abattoir, to meat processing among others.”
While expressing optimism in partnering with NIRSAL, Governor Bello said the CBN-backed agency would also engage in the maintenance of heavy and light farming equipment to avoid mismanagement and promoting the life span of the facilities.
“Maintenance of the tractors is very important. Machine Equipment Consortium Africa (MECA) and Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) will be in charge of our equipment to ensure proper maintenance.”
Bello however, cautioned against diverting the facilities. “We have seen incidences whereby government-procured tractors end up becoming instrument of promoting corruption because of subsidy involved, but we are going to guard the equipment jealously.
“I believe with this effort by the NIRSAL, we will have a well-structured maintenance scheme for our tractors and that will make them last longer,” the governor said as he commended the agency for prompt action for the support in promoting the state’s agriculture sector.
Aliyu Abdulhamid, NIRSAL managing director, had earlier said the objective of the partnership was to an end wastage of billions of naira invested in acquiring agricultural equipment that ordinarily would be wasting away in parts of the state.
To kick-start the programme, Abdulhamid told Governor Bello that Niger was expected to purchase 200 brand new tractors with the support of NIRSAL’s Credit Risk Guarantee.
Through MECA, the agency would also carry out auditing, inspecting, repairing, managing and maintaining heavy duty equipment in the state, Abdulhamid said as he commended Governor Bello’s determination to drive the growth required for transforming agriculture in the state.