By Lubem Gena
The Kebbi State Government and an Agricultural Firm, Machine and Equipment Corporation Africa (MECA), on Wednesday, in Birnin Kebbi signed a Memorandum of Understanding ( MOU), for the management of one hundred Tractors under a Tractor Hiring Scheme.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Barrister Attahiru Maccido, signed on behalf of Kebbi State Government, while the Company”s Group Country Director, Iliya Gashinbaki signed on behalf of the firm.
Maccido said that, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has approved the submission of the Ministry of Agriculture, recommending the adoption of the scheme by MECA, for management of one hundred tractors bought by the state government.
A statement signed by Yahaya Sarki,
Special Adviser (SA) Media to Kebbi State Governor which was made available to Chamber Telegraph explained that, the State Government had selected a reputable and competent company in order to ensure the success of the scheme.
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 (4) 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 will be given to large scale farmers upon payment of a deposit, which are also goinb to be managed by the company.
Maccido further described the event as historic and thanked the Kebbi State Governor for his foresight and undying zeal to continue to support the agricultural sector in the state.
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.
He said, ” 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.”
He assured that, the Kebbi State Government was committed in lifting agriculture forward in the state, for the betterment of the entire country.
Aiki also pointed out that, agricultural mechanisation will improve production, reduce drodgery and hard labour.
The Permanent Secretary reassured that, the service provider,MECA, was selected from among many bidders, because they have met all the required qualifications , both technically and financially, to emerge worth for the contract.
Responding, the Group Country Director of MECA, Iliya Gashinbaki, expressed his happiness over the development, describing it as a milestone achievement.
“This is a milestone achievement by his Excellency, in his quest to keep Kebbi, the leading agricultural hub in Nigeria, especially in rice farming.”
He averred that, the use of the 100 tractors will contribute to the cultivation of a minimum of of 200,000 hectares annually.
He explained , ” if that is translated to the 4 agricultural zones in the state, it will produce tremendous output of food in the state.”
Gashinbaki also added that, the youths in the state stood the chance to be trained as Mechanics, Assistant Tractor Operators and as Technicians.
He described the efforts of Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu , in approving the agreement as not only a timely response to Covid- 19 pandemic, in his capacity as the Vice Chairman of the National food Security, but a robust attempt to tackle the menace of unemployment in Kebbi State.
“” I want to assure the governor and people of Kebbi State that MECA has done it in several states , we have implemented similar schemes on Fadamas across 14 states in Nigeria, we are in Kano and Niger states also and now in Kebbi State.
“” What is more interesting is that, since the Covid -19 pandemic started ,this is the first most articulate response to tackle food security in Nigeria, this year, by the foresight of Kebbi Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu,””he said.
He also commended Governor Bagudu for leading by example and called on other Governors to emulate him.