As an agrarian state and in a bid to cash on its comparative advantage, Niger State Government has concluded plans to partner with the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) to boost mechanized farming in the state and opportunities in the agricultural value- chain.

The state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello stated this yesterday when he played host to the management of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) in Government House, Minna the state capital.

The Governor noted that the partnership between the state and NIRSAL under the Pilot model for agricultural mechanization for subnational governments would go a long way in improving agricultural activities in different areas of agricultural production.

“I believe there is a lot Niger State Government and NIRSAL can do together in maximizing opportunities and benefits in the agricultural value-chain .The CBN Anchor Borrowers Scheme concentrated more on rice but now we are going to tap into other areas like feedlots, cattle fattening skim, improving agricultural institutes in the state as well as plan towards developing a valued chain that has to do with cattle, starting from the feedlot to the abattoir, to meat processing among others.”

Expressing optimism in partnering with NIRSAL, Governor Sani-Bello said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) backed agency will also engage in the maintenance of farming equipment and other heavy duty equipment in order to avoid mismanagement and to further promote long life span of equipment in the state.

“The maintenace of our tractors is very important, Machine Equipment Consortium Africa (MECA) and Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) will be in charge of our equipment to ensure proper maintenance. We have seen incidences in the past where government buys tractors but we end up seeing our tractors in other states and sometimes in other countries because of subsidy it became an avenue for corruption or patronage and that will not take us anywhere if we are really serious about agriculture.

” I believe with this effort by NIRSAL, we will have a well structured maintenance scheme for our tractors and that will make them last longer”.

He then commended the management of NIRSAL for prompt action and for the support to promote the state’s agricultural sector and its value chain.

Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of NIRSAL, Alhaji Aliyu Abdulhamid disclosed that the objective of the partnership was to bring to halt “the waste of billions of naira invested in acquiring agricultural equipment that ordinarily would be wasting away in various parts state. ”

The Managing Director also disclosed that 200 brand new tractors will be purchased by the Niger State Government with the support of NIRSAL Credit Risk Guarantee.

He also said that his agency, through MECA would also carry “out auditing, inspecting, repairing, managing and maintaining heavy duty equipment in the state”.

He however commended the effort of Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello for his doggedness and determination to drive the growth required for the transformation of agriculture in the state.

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