The Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has revealed that farmers can now acquire tractors after paying 40 per cent of the actual price to the government.
The Minister Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar disclosed this during the launch of a “Tractorization Programme”, held in Kaduna State.
In a statement signed by the Chief Information Officer Ezeaja Ikemefuna on Monday, Abubakar said the launch was due to the challenges farmers face in practicing mechanized farming across the country.
This, according to him, has affected food security and creation of jobs opportunities in the country.
The Agric Minister explained further that the ministry will acquire 10,000 tractors and the payment method for the tractors will be in two phases. They are 40 per cent advance payment and the other 60 per cent after three years.
He added “The vital role of Agriculture in the Nigerian Economy makes it necessary for the Sector to be re-invigorated through tractor acquisition in order to achieve Food and Nutrition Security.
“This is why the Ministry would acquire 10,000 units of Tractors with Implements and 50,000 units of assorted equipment to kick start the programme.
“Nigerian Farmers would be expected to make a 40 per cent down payment while the balance of 60 per cent would be spread over a period of three years.”
Abubakar failed to disclose the actual sum required of the farmers to purchase the tractors.
But a credible source in the Ministry who spoke on the condition of anonymity, linked the unstable exchange rate to their decision to withhold the total funds for the tractors.
The source said, “There is no price now, because the change in exchange rate may affect it (tractor) tomorrow. So, once the modality of payment is stated, that is when we can give the price. Even if the price is N1 tomorrow, the modality is already there. This is why the price is not mentioned.”
On his part, the Managing Director, Bank of Agriculture (BOA) Limited, Alwan Hassan said the status of Agricultural Mechanization in the country was very low.
He noted that the nation’s mechanization system, is estimated at 0.027hp/ha as against United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Recommendation of 1.5hp/ha.
“The success of agricultural production largely depends on the level of Mechanization,” he added.
Similarly, the Permanent Secretary, FMARD, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe represented by the Director of Federal Department of Agriculture, Abubakar Abdullahi stated that the Programme would move agriculture from subsistence to commercial business venture.
He also said the development will increase the economy of most farmers, drive development in the agrarian communities, encourage youth participation and engagement among others.