Sabo Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development says about 240 tractors will be provided nationwide as part of ongoing agricultural mechanisation programme.
Nanono made the disclosure on Thursday in Gusau during a courtesy visit to Zamfara Governor as part of his one day inspection tour to the grain reserve in the state.
Nanono said the programme, which would be private sector driven, would help consolidate federal government’s efforts at ensuring food security.
He explained that the federal government’s role in the programme would be to help secure the loan for the project as well as act as guarantor.
“We are going to embark on a massive agricultural mechanisation and this will touch on 632 local governments.
“Attach to this, there will be processing tractors, about 240 of them across the country.
“I believe all the local governments in Zamfara will be affected by the innovation.
“There will be service centres and the basis of service centres is to have brand new tractors fully equipped, to have an IT office that will monitor the tractors wherever they are working.
“It will have a workshop and a store for finished goods as well as fertilizer and seeds and this is going to be owned by the private sector.
“What the government is going to do is simple. We are going to guarantee the loans for financing the tractors and equipment.
“We want the people in the local government areas to own these service centres,’’ he said.
Nanono assured of return on investment for individuals or groups that would key into the programme, noting that the investment of about N5million to N6 million Naira could yield as much as N150 million.
He said, “we all know that a tractor can generate between N60, 000 and N75,000 per day.
“Going by this, within seven years you can pay up this loan and this asset of N150 million or above, will become your own.
“You know that tractors when they are well maintained can last for 25 years or even 30 years.
“So, this is an important opportunity and this message should be passed to your local governments and your people should be prepared to own it.’’
The minister said, if properly implemented, the programme was capable of turning around the fortune of many agricultural stakeholders while repositioning the agricultural sector in Nigeria.
He assured of government’s commitment to assist stakeholders where necessary, particularly Zamfara, to ensure that the people benefitted from the programme.
The Secretary to the State Government, Mr Bala Maru, who received the minister on behalf of the Gov. Bello Matawalle, thanked the minister for the promise to assist the government to improve agriculture in the state.
“Zamfara State needs the support and assistance of the federal government because we are a victim of banditry, kidnapping, rustling, and people have lost a lot of money in paying ransom.
“Houses were burnt, so a lot of households have been pressurised because of the activities of bandits and other related crimes.
“So, we are very happy to receive this good news of support from the federal government through your ministry.
“We praise the priority the Federal Government is giving to agriculture. It is the backbone of the Zamfara State economy.
“Once you give agriculture priority it is like you have given Zamfara State priority. So we really appreciate that,’’ he said.
He urged the minister to make Zamfara one of the three benefitting states in the ongoing Agro Processing and Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livestock Improvement Scheme.
“We appeal to you because our people in the agriculture ministry are in Abuja attending a meeting on agro processing and agricultural productivity enhancement and livestock improvement scheme.
“We are aware that this is a programme that the federal government has designed to empower stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
“And in this programme 10,000 persons are expected to benefit in six years in three selected states.
“So we appealing that Zamfara will be considered so that a lot of people can be rehabilitated from the losses we have incurred, “he said.