Nigeria floats soft loans to accelerate agricultural mechanisation

Nigeria has floated a soft loan scheme with 11 years maturity to encourage agricultural mechanization and boost production.

The scheme will involve the distribution of more than 10, 000 tractors, fertilisers, chemicals and seedlings to farmers in the 774 Local Government Areas of Nigeria.

According to local media reports on Sunday, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Sabo Nanono, told the Emir of Dutse, Muhammadu Sunusi, in Jigawa State, during a courtesy visit on Saturday that he was in Jigawa State to inspect facilities at the 50,000 metric tonnes silos in Jahun Local Governments Area of the state.

He explained that each of the local governments would be allocated tractors and inputs as soft loan to be repaid in 11 years and that the gesture was in conformity with the promise made by President Muhammad Buhari in his New Year Message to encourage mechanized agriculture.

“What we need is that the beneficiaries must be genuine farmers and native of the participating local councils,” Nanono said.

He noted that the gesture was to assist farmers to boost their production capacity so that government could mop up excess produce for strategic reserve.

According to him, the Federal Government will commence implementation of the programme in the second quarter of the year 2020.

He also restated government's commitment to accelerate cotton, paddy and livestock productions to enhance food security programme.

Sunusi, who was represented by Basiru Sunusi, revealed that the council had set up a committee to mobilize participation in the agriculture transformation programme.

“The committee will also identify suitable crop in each of the seven local government areas under the Dutse Emirate Council,” he said.