By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA— THE Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, and four state governors, weekend, met with a Chinese company, YTO China-Africa Machinery Corporation, CAMACO, to fine tune the implementation of the $4.5 billion agriculture infrastructure loan agreement with the People’s Republic of China.
The meeting, held at the headquarters of the ministry in Abuja, had Governor of Zamfara State and Chairman of Governors’ Forum, Abdulaziz Yari; Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State, David Umahi of Ebonyi State, and Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, in attendance.
Ogbeh, who represented the Federal Government at the meeting, said the government would not accept farm machinery and equipment that were below standard, especially with regards to the scarcity of money and weather conditions across the country.
He said the company should consider local assemblage of the tractors in Nigeria for cost effectiveness and availability, and also disclosed that government had designed means for repayment of the loan.
He said: “We are negotiating the interest rate, telling them to produce here when our steel mill comes on stream. We are harping on specification; we are also discussing how to pay back the loan through export of agricultural produce.”
Meanwhile, the governors agreed to meet again with the technical committee to identify agriculture produce in the states that could be exported to China as a means of attracting foreign exchange.