NAN – The Federal Government on Tuesday in Gusau inaugurated four agricultural equipment hiring centres worth N144m to boost mechanised agriculture in the state.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said at the inauguration that the four centres cost the Federal Government N144m.
The minister said there would be 20 tractors, power tillers, harvesters and planters, among other modern farm machinery in each centre, located in each senatorial zone with one at the state centre.
Adesina said a total of 1,200 centres would be established across the country before the end of the year, in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive.
He explained that farmers would access the equipment under the Growth Enhancement Support scheme, with the federal and state governments paying 50 per cent of the cost of hiring the equipment.
He added that the days of corruption in providing tractors for farmers were over, as it was now in the hands of the private sector.
Adesina said the ministry would support farmers in Zamfara with N193 million to have free access to tractor services in the next four months.
“This will enable farmers in the state to cultivate 8,000 hectares extra, increase food production by 32,000 tonnes and create 1,000 jobs,” he said.
The minister said farmers in the North had benefited from the GES scheme, as they represent 75 per cent of the scheme’s beneficiaries.
He urged farmers to support President Jonathan so as to continue to enjoy government’s support in boosting agriculture.
Earlier, Mr Saidu Abdulsalam, the Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Zamfara branch, said there were more than three million people in the state and 90 per cent of them farmers with 250,000 family farms.
He said AFAN was in support of the President as his term in office had enabled members to feel government’s presence on the farms for the first time.
He appreciated the Federal Government for allowing farmers in the state to participate in the GES scheme.
Executive Director, Wholesale and Finance, Bank of Agriculture, Mr Waziri Ahmadu, said the centres would enhance efficiency, increase food production and raw materials for industries.
The director said BOA was collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to replicate same landmark achievement in Kebbi.
Ahmadu said the bank had resolved to align its budget with the principles of Agricultural Transformation Agenda to further boost agriculture in the country.