The Tractor Owners Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) has expressed satisfaction over the N500 million loan provided by the Bank of Industry (BoI) for the purchase of 50 tractors by its members.
The initiative is expected to empower 20, 000 Nigerians.
The loan guaranteed by the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) was the initiative of the TOOAN.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony in Kajola Local Government, Oyo State, the president of the association, Yakubu Elesa, said that the project would enhance food sufficiency and growth of the nation’s economy.
The TOOAN president commended the cooperation, loyalty and commitment of the members which assisted the association in breaking all strongholds of accessing the loan.
He appreciated past and present efforts of federal and some state governments, especially Oyo, Ogun and Kastina States, which extended loan facilities to his members.
The Project Director, Emmanuel Kolade, noted that used the opportunity to call on the government to improve its policy on agricultural lending procedure to enhance private sector driven economy,
He noted that the effort would be in tandem with the initiative of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari that, “government has no business in business,” because past of experience gave room for corruption.”
Performing the launch, the Oyo state Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Oyewole Oyewumi, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Victor Atilola, lauded the organisational structure of TOOAN and their commitment to revolutionise agricultural mechanisation of the country.
He further said Oyo State Government has made provision for both land clearing and preparation equipment to be handed over to the association for effective management to assist farmers in the state.
Kolade, added that the new SONALIKA tractors would enhance mechanised agriculture, while lauding the banks especially African French Development which gave the guarantee to de-risk the loan.
“The prospect of this is that these 50 tractors will enhance the job creation of over 20,000 capacities. Each tractor is taking care of about 4,000 people. And multiplying that by 50 is a huge impact on our Nigerian economy.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Niji Farms, Kola Niji who assembled the tractors, said that agriculture in Nigeria would never become better if government does not revisit the policies to access agricultural loans.