The Osun State Government has urged farmers who wish to cultivate large expanse of land to approach the state Ministry of Agriculture to acquire tractors at a subsidised rate.
Mr Kola Ajisekola, the Director Agricultural Services in the ministry, who made the call in an interview in Osogbo on Wednesday.
Ajisekola said that the acquisition of tractors would enhance the government’s mass food production plan this planting season.
He said that the Federal and state governments would subsidise the cost of the tractors by 25 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.
He said that to ease payment burden, interested farmers would be allowed to deposit only 10 per cent of the cost. “Gov. Rauf Aregbesola has also conceded to the farmers to pay the balance within a period of three years, so that they will not feel the pains of the cost of the tractors at all. The director said the government had also made available to farmers sufficient farmlands in the state farm settlements.
He further said that the government had also started providing land clearing services free of charge to facilitate early planting.
“This year, we have started manual land clearing of over 400 hectares at Osuntedo and 300 hectares at Ife-Odan, to ease the burden of the farmers.
Ajisekola said that the registration of farmers for the Federal Government’s “Growth Enhancement Support Service” for subsidised farm inputs was ongoing.
He said that the government would ensure that all farmers benefitted from farm inputs, including fertiliser, herbicides and seedlings, through duly registered farmers’ cooperative societies.
Meanwhile, Mr Raheem Adeniji, state Chairman, All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN), in separate interview, said that the members had completed the farmers’ data forms for the scheme.
“We filled the forms which were taken to Abuja, but we have not heard any feedback since. We are not worried because we are getting such inputs from the state government,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Wale Olayemi, the state Secretary, ‘Agbekoya’ Farmers’ Association said that members of the association had completed what he called ‘Evaluation Form’ and were awaiting for further development.
Olayemi, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to complete the processing on time so that the inputs would be useful to the farmers this planting season as planned.
Also speaking, Mr Wale Adedoyin, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, said that the state government had made adequate arrangement for the planting season to succeed.
Adedoyin expressed optimism that the state would record ample harvest through the efforts of the Osun Rural Enterprise and Agric Programme (O’REAP) and the Quick Impact Intervention Programme (QUIP).
He charged all the Executive Secretaries and Directors of Agriculture in all the 30 Local Government Areas to ensure the success of the 2012 for mass food production plan.
The commissioner stressed the need for quick action on the clearing of more lands, cooperative financing, and road construction to farm sites, funding and marketing strategies this planting season. Adedoyin lauded Aregbesola for his efforts to provide several tonnes of maize seedlings, agrochemicals and other inputs, to make the plan for massive food production a success.
“In view of this planting season, the Osun Government has ordered the provision of all essential services such as land, tractors and other inputs for farmers,” he added.