Governor of Niger state, Abubakar Sani Bello, disclosed on Thursday that his administration had spent over N2 billion on the purchase of 130 tractors and other farming implements to encourage agricultural mechanisation in the state.

He disclosed further that the state sold the equipments to farmers’ Cooperative Societies across the state.

The Governor made this known during the Niger State Special Day at the ongoing National Agricultural Show holding in Tudun Wada, Nasarawa state.

Represented by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Haruna Dukku, the governor said: “We went a step further to by handing over the management of these tractors to the Tractors Owners’ Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) and Machine and Equipment Consortium Africa (MECA). They are vested with powers of managing and operating the Tractors on behalf of beneficiaries until repayments are completed.”

Bello also hinted that his administration distributed 50 units of rice threshers valued at N19.74 million to cooperative groups to ease rice processing for enhanced value addition.

The governor explained that the state government keyed into the CBN’s programme for young people by releasing its counterpart fund totalling N142 million to commence the implementation.

He listed the programmmes to include; the Anchor Borrowers Programme in which over 20,000 farmers were cultivating Rice, Soya Beans and Cotton, and Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme aimed at providing employment opportunities.

According to him, under the programme more than 10,000 youths are to be engaged in cultivating rice, maize and soya beans.

He said the state had deliberately reformed the fertilizer distribution network to remove corrupt practices associated with the exercise by selling directly to the farmers.

The governor expatiated: “We deliberately reformed the process of selling fertilizers to farmers by eliminating most forms of corruption and middlemen syndrome by evolving a policy that allows us to partner with agro inputs dealers in the state who then sell fertilizer directly to the farmers at government approved price.

“Using already established farmers’ data and their locations based on the past- implemented national growth enhancement support program (GES) the distribution was seamless”, Bello added.