The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, on Friday in Abuja inaugurated an 18-member committee for implementation of Federal Government’s Agriculture mechanisation programme called The Green Imperative Programme (GIP).
The programme, which is estimated at $1.1 billion, is to be funded by the Brazilian Government through a loan from the Deutsche Bank (DB), Development Bank of Brazil and Islamic Development Bank.
The loan is expected to be repaid at three per cent interest rate over a period of 15 years for Development Bank of Brazil and seven years including two years moratorium for the DB.
The programme is expected to benefit 100,000 young people directly and five million indirectly. This is designed to enable Nigeria acquire 10,000 units of tractors and 50,000 units of assorted implement and equipment for assembly in Nigeria.
It is also meant to ensure training of project beneficiaries for over 10 years and establishment of 780 service centres to assist small holder farmers prepare the soil, cultivate and harvest farm produce.
GIP is further designed to enhance agricultural mechanisation specialised extension services and agro-processing in the 774 local government areas and the six area councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Nanono, who is the Chairman of the committee, said the programme was timely in view of the need to feed the Nigerian population estimated at 200 million as well as other African countries that rely on Nigeria.
“The programme would be private sector driven, government would only create the enabling environment and offer assistance where necessary,’’ the minister said.
He advised small agro allied companies and agricultural cooperative societies to take advantage of the opportunity created by government to be part of the agricultural revolution by investing in it.