The Niger State Government has concluded arrangements to procure 10 new tractors at the cost of N1.8 billion to boost its access to farmers in the state for the 2019 farming season.
Governor Abubakar Bello made this known in Minna, the state capital while inaugurating the 2019 farming season and sales and distribution of fertilisers, improved seeds and agro-chemicals to farmers.
“In order to increase tractor availability in the state this year, another 10 tractors will be procured at the cost of N1.8 billion,” he said.
Mr Bello, who was represented by the deputy governor, Ahmed Ketso, said the programme was a collaboration of the state government with agriculture stakeholders.
They included Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Machine Equipment Consortiums Africa (MECA) and Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN).
Mr Bello, however said the fertilisers, improved seeds and agro-chemicals would be sold to only genuine farmers at federal government approved rate of N5,500 per bag to ensure bumper harvest.
He explained that the state government was partnering with distributors under the federal government Special Fertiliser Intervention Programme to make available 25,000 metric tons of fertiliser in the state.
“The fertilisers are to be delivered to designated government fertiliser stores in the 25 local government areas of the state for sale to farmers at the cost of N5,500 for 50 kilograms of NPK,” he said.
Mr Bello said among the items made available for easy access by farmers included 8,000 metric tons of assorted rice seeds, 5,000 metric tons of fortified maize, 5,000 metric tons of fortified sorghum.
Others includes 3,000 metric tons of hybrid soya beans seeds and 16,000 litres of assorted herbicides.
He gave the assurance that government would concentrate on the provision of subsidies on those essential inputs in order to assist farmers get the best out of their farm produce.
Earlier, Permanent Secretary ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ibrahim Musa, urged the farmers to avoid purchasing adulterated fertiliser and other farm inputs from unscrupulous dealers.
Mr Musa, who commended the timely sales and distribution of the product, said the measure would bring about bumper harvest in the state.
Also, the chairman All Farmers Association of Nigeria in the state, Shehu Galadima, thanked government for timely intervention.
Mr Galadima urged government to take proactive measures in tackling security challenges to ensure safety of farmers on their farms.