As part of efforts to support farmers, the Kwara State Government has unveiled a tractor hiring scheme to encourage large scale farming by providing tractors to farmers at subsidised rates.
The government is also deploying no less than 50 tractors for hire by farmers at N10,000 per hectare of land — about N6,000 less than the market cost of hiring the machinery from private firms.
Technical Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, AbdulQowiy Olododo, told journalists while flagging-off the initiative in Lafiagi, Kwara North Senatorial District, that the distribution is taking place under the government’s “Tractor Subsidy Scheme” to boost food production.
“This is the first phase of our intervention to farmers and we will move from tractor hiring to supplying input- seeds and fertilisers – to boost yields,” Olododo said in Lafiagi where eight tractors were deployed to farmers in Edu Local Government Area.
“This is in fulfillment of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s electoral promise to support local farmers in the state. Secondly, we took this step because we are envisaging that there could be food shortage as a result of the ravaging COVID-19. So, this is one of the ways we think we can upscale food production in Kwara State,” he said.
Olododo said the initiative is to support both subsistence and commercial farmers to boost their production for this season at a heavily subsidised rate of N10,000 per hectare each for ploughing, ridging and harrowing.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Job Creation, Alhassan Aliyu, disclosed that 50 tractors had been acquired by government for hiring at all the local government areas based on request.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals, Dr Jamila Bio-Ibrahim, said the scheme was in line with Goal Two of the SDGs which is eradicating hunger, improve nutrition and food security and at the same time promote sustainable agriculture in the state.
“Agricultural mechanisation will improve yields, address nutrition issues and food security,” she said.
Bio-Ibrahim urged the farmers to take advantage of the subsided tractors to improve yields so as to encourage government to do more.
Muhammad Shaaba Lafiagi, a farmer in Lafiagi, thanked the state government for the initiative, saying the tractors would improve their production this year.
“It has been a very long time since we got such support from the state government. This will help us greatly and bring development. We are optimistic that we will get more support,” Lafiagi said.
The scheme was started in Moro Local Government and is to be launched in Kwara South and Kwara Central in the next few days.