Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The Kebbi State Government and an agricultural firm, Machine and Equipment Corporation Africa (MECA), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the management of 100 Tractors under a Tractor Hiring Scheme, expected to cultivate over 200,000 hectares of land annually.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Barrister Attahiru Maccido, signed on behalf of Kebbi State Government, while the Company’s Group Country Director, Mr Iliya Gashinbaki, signed on behalf of the firm.
Maccido, speaking during the signing of MoU, explained that Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu approved the submission of the Ministry of Agriculture recommending the adoption of the scheme by MECA for the management of 100 tractors bought by the state government.
He explained that the state government had selected a reputable and competent company in order to ensure the success of the scheme.
According to him, “It is aimed at avoiding the costly mistakes of the previous administration which resulted in the collapse of the scheme, due to negligent poor management.
“That is why the state government took time in ensuring that it selects a competent and able management company. MECA has a solid background because it is a combination of the private sector, CBN and NIRSAL, so, we have no doubt of their capacity and that is why the state government decided to have the agreement with them,” he said.
According to the commissioner, fifty of the tractors shall be deployed to the four agricultural zones under the Kebbi Agricultural and Rural Development Agency ( KARDA), in Argungu, Bunza, Zuru and Yauri in the state by the company and shall be available for hire to small scale farmers.
In the same vein, the remaining fifty tractors, according to him, will be given to large scale farmers upon payment of a deposit, which are also going to be managed by the company.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Agricultural and Natural Resources, Mr Joel Aiki, also described the signing of the agreement as a welcome development.
He said that the MoU underscored the zeal and commitment of the state government in moving the state forward in respect of agricultural mechanisation.
“Part of the agreement include the security, maintenance and the servicing of 100 units of tractors procured by the state government, in addition to the number of agro processing equipment to support agricultural mechanisation which had already been distributed.”
The Group Country Director of MECA, Mr Iliya Gashinbaki, noted that the agreement would contribute to the cultivation of a minimum of 200,000 hectares annually in the state.
“This is a milestone achievement by his Excellency, in his quest to keep Kebbi, the leading agricultural hub in Nigeria, especially in rice farming. The use of the 100 tractors will contribute to the cultivation of a minimum of 200,000 hectares annually.
“If that is translated to the 4 agricultural zones in the state, it will produce tremendous output of food in the state,” he stated.