akinwunmi adesinaMinister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said the Federal Government would invest N3.5bn in 60 enterprises for the leasing of agricultural equipment.

The minister explained that the ventures would be equipped with 300 units of tractors and 1,590 planting, harvest and post-harvest equipment to provide immediate farming mechanisation service support for farmers in the coming growing season.

“The financing of these agricultural hiring centres will be done through public-private partnership. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture will provide N3.5bn towards facilitating financing for the centres in partnership with the Bank of Agriculture and the private sector.

“The government will provide 35 per cent of the loans, Bank of Agriculture will provide 35 per cent and the private sector will provide the balance of 30 per cent as equity contribution.

“Starting from this year, farmers will begin to get mechanisation subsidy as electronic vouchers through their phones. We expect that as we take off, the private sector will deploy 10,000 units of tractors, harvest and post-harvest implements between 2013 and 2015,” he said.

Adesina said the goal of the agricultural transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan was to add 20 million metric tones of food to the country’s domestic supply by 2015 and create 3.5 million jobs.

The minister said that only 40 per cent of Nigeria’s 84 million hectares of land was actually cultivated.

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