By Jimoh Babatunde
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Ibrahim Ramalan Giwa has recommended the PrOpCom’s Tractor Intervention leasing scheme as a model private sector initiative that stakeholders in the agricultural sector should adopt to achieve the goal of creating better access to agricultural machines to farmers and increased food production.
The Commissioner said this in an address at the launch of the pilot scheme of the PrOpCom’s Tractor intervention in Zaria, Kaduna State recently where 25 farmers and tractor operators got their tractors facilitated by the initiative.
Dr. Giwa noted that there is need for stakeholders to support the initiative as it is a viable and sustainable option to assist farmers with access to tractor services towards increasing food production.
“This is the most viable and sustainable initiative that if properly handled and monitored well could take us to the promise land”, the Commissioner said. He also noted that the role of government should be to provide an enabling environment for the private sector to the lead in the sector as most government input subsidies initiatives had challenges of leakages and targeted beneficiaries are never reached.
He equally commended the partners of the scheme, First Bank Plc, Springfield Agro Limited, and the Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria for taking the bold step to ensure that more farmers have access to tractor services. He acknowledged the facilitative role played by PrOpCom (Promoting Pro Poor Opportunities through Commodity and Service Markets), a DFID Funded Programme in Nigeria in the scheme.
In a remark at the occasion, the Public Relations Officer of TOOAN, Mr. Kayode Kumolu urged recipients to ensure regular repayments of the loans to make the scheme a success. “Regular repayments of the loans by our members will assure us of the opportunity for the bank to take the scheme to other states of the country”, he said. He also promised that his members will continue to play its role in the effort to achieve the goal of food security in the country.
The Tractor Intervention is a pilot scheme fully private sector led initiative facilitated by PrOpCom. The Intervention seeks to encourage Springfield Agro Limited, the distributors of Mahindra brand of tractors, First Bank Nigeria Plc, and the Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) to partner in developing a viably and sustainable lease financing model aimed at increasing access to finance to tractor service providers. The tractor operators provide tractor hire service to farmers in the rural areas at affordable cost.
The tractor leasing scheme is an initiative, which offers farmers and tractor services operators a lease finance to purchase Mahindra brand of tractors with payment of 20% equity contribution, while spreading loan repayments over a 24 month period. In addition, a two years warranty, a comprehensive insurance cover for each tractor and maintenance support for all time is offered by Springfield Agro Limited under the scheme.