Agwara Local Government Council in Niger on Saturday said that it has spent N1.4 million to fix three broken-down tractors for this year’s farming season.
Alhaji Nura Kokoli, the council Chairman disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while inspecting the three reactivated tractors at the council secretariat in Agwara.
“We have to pay attention to this year’s farming season because of the hunger associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“That was part of why the council spent N1.4 million to repair three broken-down tractors to help our farmers,” he said.
He said that the measure would support farmers in the area to improve their farming activities.
Kokoli assured that the council would give priority to women farmer groups in the area toward reducing over-dependence on their husbands.
“The council will provide the necessary inputs and equipment to encourage our women to increase their participation in farming,” he said.
He said that farmers in the area would hire the tractors at subsidised rates to ensure bumper harvest in this cropping season.
The Council Chairman said that the tractors would be given free to farmers who cannot afford to pay for the hiring.
He said that money accruing from the hiring of the tractors would increase the revenue base of the council.
Kokoli promised to provide inputs such as fertilisers, improved seedlings and agrochemicals at government subsidised rate toward increased yield.
“I am assuring you that our fertilisers will get to genuine farmers at government subsidised rates,” he said.
He advised the farmers to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the council to enhance food production in the area and the state at large.
The Council Chairman reiterated the commitment of his administration to support farmers in the area.
Earlier, Mrs Mary Hamzaranda, the state Coordinator, Smallholder Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria (SWOFON), told NAN that COVID-19, insecurity, inadequate funding and lack of government support were some of the challenges facing women farmers in the state.
NAN recalls that in order to tackle the challenges of all categories of farmers in Niger, the state government on June 4 inaugurated the 2020 farming season.
The government also provided subsidies for essential farming inputs to all farmers in the state including women farmers.
The International Budget Partnership (IBP) is collaborating with Strengthening Public Accountability for Results and Knowledge (SPARK) and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) for farmer sensitisation.
The initiative is to bolster SWOFON to access critical agricultural inputs and women-friendly equipment, especially in the rural areas across the country.