- To provide 75% risk guarantees
Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has signed an agricultural mechanisation management contract with the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and Machine and Equipment Consortium Africa (MECA) to fix an estimated 50,000 tractors grounded across the country.
The initiative will cover the entire 36 states of the federation and Abuja, with the states expected to indicate interest to benefit from the scheme at no cost to them, THISDAY has learnt.
The deal will also see NIRSAL provide 75 per cent credit guarantee to enable NASENI and MECA repair 10,000 grounded tractors across the country annually, in a bid to boost the agriculture value chain nationwide.
NIRSAL’s Managing Director, Aliyu Abbati Abdulhameed, who spoke at a stakeholders’ concept forum and press conference in Abuja, said the deal was a tractorisation project in which 10,000 abandoned tractors would be repaired annually.
Abdulhameed said the partnership would guarantee maintenance for the tractors and other agricultural equipment for states and local governments with about N120 billion.
Describing the project as one that would lift the nation’s agricultural sector from the 19th to the 21st century, he stated that it represents a giant leap for the mechanisation of the agricultural value chain in Nigeria.
Giving an insight into the project, he said, “It speaks for the primary production mechanisation particularly tractorisation and the density of tractor services in Nigeria agricultural primary production space.”
“For an average price of (let’s say) N12 million (the cost of a tractor), that will amount to about N120 billion worth of equipment that needs to be serviced,” he said.
“The project represents a giant leap for the mechanisation of agriculture in Nigeria, to improve tractorisation and density of tractor services in Nigeria’s agricultural primary production space,” he added.
NIRSAL is providing 75 per cent guarantee to the total amount that is required to be able to service 10,000 units of tractors a year for the next 10 years.
According to him, “if Nigeria requires 10,000 tractors every year for the next 10 years in order to meet the global average for doing an average of three hectares per tractor a day, we will end up doing 3.6 million hectares.”
He added, “And that will translate to 1.2 million metric tonnes of grains which translates to N3.2 trillion worth of grains to be produced within a year.”
A key objective of the new scheme is to end the colossal waste of billions of naira which was invested in acquiring agricultural equipment that are gathering dust all over the country, and deploy them to boost agricultural production.
It is estimated that there are about 50,000 disused tractors and other equipment in different parts of the country.
According to the terms of the partnership, NIRSAL will provide credit risk guarantee and technical advisory support services while NASENI and MECA will be responsible for financing, refurbishing and managing the equipment.
The Chief Executive of MECA, Illiya Gashinbaki, said his company, as co-anchor of the project, would work with states and other partners identified in about 11 co-locations.
He said the various workshops are being retooled and upgraded to ensure that tractors that have broken down are repaired without delay.