Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and the Katsina State government have launched a landmark agricultural mechanisation financing programme in which the former is to provide 75 per cent bank guarantees for N1.6 billion to enable the state purchase 225 tractors for lease to farmers.
The partnership, which is in continuation of NISRAL’s mandate to boost agricultural production, stimulate inclusive growth and job creation in the sector will enable Access Bank provide the funds for the purchase of 225 tractors for lease to farmers at affordable rates.
Besides NISRAL and Katsina State, other key signatories to the partnership include Mahindra Tractor Manufacturing Company, an international farm equipment manufacture from India; Tractors Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN; Springfield Agro, a trail blazer in the field of agro input distribution; and Access Bank Plc.
Under the terms of the partnership, NIRSAL is to provide 75 per cent bank guarantee for N1.6 billion to be provided by Access Bank for the purchase of 225 tractors for lease to farmers at affordable rates.
The ground-breaking mechanisation project is projected to increase the tractor density in Katsina State by 1,000 additional tractors in the nearest future.
The target is to boost mechanised farming, lower per hectare cost of land preparation and increase food production as well as incomes for smallholder and medium-to-large scale agricultural farmers in the state.
Speaking at the launch, the Managing Director of NIRSAL, Mr. Aliyu Abbati Abdulhameed expressed delight at the take off of the project.
His words: â€œI am indeed very delighted to see the take-off of this project. This is again practical proof of the deployment of NIRSALâ€™s strategic mechanization finance framework which is designed to facilitate financing for the purchase of expensive farming equipment for lease to farmers at affordable rates so as to deepen commercial agriculture.
“This is in line with the Buhari governmentâ€™s policy focus to put agriculture in the driving seat of the Nigerian economy,” he stressed.
He commended the Katsina State government for providing the policy support, TOAN for organising themselves as a professional body and Access Bank for their willingness to provide the financing.
Abdulhameed added that NIRSALâ€™s mandate as a policy tool in the hand of the government was to boost agricultural productivity and help government achieve its objective of self-sufficiency in food production, job creation and economic diversification by increasing commercial bank lending to the sector.
Also speaking at the event, the Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Aminu Masari, represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu said the mechanisation scheme is part of its policy to boost agricultural mechanisation in the state.
His words: â€œThis project represents a key milestone in our governmentâ€™s plan to increase mechanised farming in Katsina by at least 50%. Our goal is for a start to provide at least one tractor for each of the 361 wards in the state. We are starting with 225 for now, but this will be scaled up pretty soonâ€.