The Kano State Government has released a grant of N132 million to the state branch of All Farmers Association (AFAN) to facilitate its tractor lending programme, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has said.
The governor, who made this known in Kano during the inauguration of 50 new tractors purchased under the programme, initiated by AFAN Kano State chapter, 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.
“That is why we must support programmes such as this one to enable us move ahead,” he maintained.
According to Governor Ganduje, “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 loose 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 mechanization 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.
Governor Gandjue said in the light of the Federal Government’s initiatives to boost agriculture so as to revitalize the economy, sustainable synergy between all stakeholders in the sector was what was needed to provide the right inputs necessary for bumper food production in the country.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, explained that the programme is targeted famers’ cooperative societies who are expected to deposit a small percentage of the cost of the tractor, while the repayment was spread over a period of two years.
According to the commissioner, “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 Partnership.
“Accordingly, the facilities under this programme are guaranteed by NIRSAL to reduce risks.”
The state branch chairman of AFAN, Alhaji Faruk Rabi’u Mudi, explained that the tractor loan was stress – free without mortgaging of land such that farmers would be able to acquire tractors with ease as against obtaining them with bank loans.
Faruk 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 the value chains of agriculture.