By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Niger State Government on Tuesday flagged-off the public sales of fertilizers and farm tractors for the current cropping season in the state.
The state government had procured 15,000 metric tonnes of fertilizers for resale to farmers across the state at a subsidized, open market price of N5,500 per bag.
Also, the state had purchased 130 units of farm tractors at about N2.2 billion which are to be deployed on the state’s tractor hiring system and outright sales to farmers as part of the government’s drive to encourage mechanized farming to boost and enhance greater food production by farmers across the state.
The state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello disclosed that another batch of one hundred farm tractors were being expected in the state in about a week’s time from Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, through the bank’s Nigerian initiative based risk sharing system for agricultural lending scheme.
In his message at the flag off, governor Sani Bello revealed that the farm tractors would be sold at 25% discounts to genuine farmers in the state.
On display at the flag off ceremony held Tuesday in Minna were several hundred of rice trashers machines and other farm inputs for sale.
Meanwhile, Niger state has received the second tranche of the CBN’s N1 billion micro small and medium enterprise development fund.
The state’s Commissioner for Investments, Commerce and Industries, Mundi Mohammed said the success of the first tranche of the CBN’s micro small and medium enterprises fund in the state which was released earlier this year, had led to the empowerment of some 11,578 beneficiaries from across the state which consequently created over three thousand jobs in the state.
He said the apex bank had, following the success story of the scheme, rated Niger state as one of the states with huge success story of the scheme.
The Commissioner said with the disbursement of the second tranche of the fund, about 20,000 beneficiaries would be captured at the end of the scheme with a greater multiplier economic empowerment for citizens in the state.
Mundi Mohammed explained that the federal government, through the CBN, had earmarked that each of the states of the federation to draw N2 billion each for the development of their micro, small and medium scale enterprises.
The primary targets of the fund are women, youths and others particularly the vulnerables.