Tractor Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN) has lamented that the process of acquiring government agriculture loans is too cumbersome and time consuming.
National Vice President of the association, Emmanuel Kolade, said it took the association two years to procure 50 tractors for members.
TOOAN on Thursday launched the new SONALIKA tractors at the Niji Farms, Ilero, Oyo, with the loan accessed from the Bank of Industry in collaboration with First City Monument Bank.
Kolade said: “We want to enhance agricultural mechanisation.
“The procedure and time frame to access loan is a little bit long. It took us two years to achieve this. The agricultural institution, which is supposed to be derisking agricultural loans, is not really coming up to ensure the sustainability of the programme.
“The prospect of this is that these 50 tractors will enhance the job creation of over 20,000 capacity.
“Each tractor is taking care of about 4,000 people. And multiplying that by 50 is a huge impact on the Nigerian economy.
Chief Executive Officer of Niji Farms, Kola Niji, who assembled the tractor, said that agriculture in Nigeria will never become better if government does not revisit the policies for agriculture loans.
However, one of the beneficiaries of the tractors, Alhaji Aliyu Ismail, said obtaining loan is a necessity for any farmer who intends to be successful.
He said: “I am so happy today. This programme started two years ago and we’ve been expecting this occasion. All glory to God for giving us long lives to witness this.
“We are in Nigeria, we cannot avoid taking loans, or getting helps from elsewhere.
“The loan is friendly, it has a five-year payment plan and by the Grace of God, I should be able to pay back.
“We want the government to provide arable lands for Agriculture”.
National President of the association, Engr Elesa Bitrus Yakubu, who graced the occasion, commended the effort of Mr Niji Lukas, an indigenous vendor with assembling plant in Nigeria “in getting the tractors delivered to time despite enormous obstacle at our Nigeria port”.
He further commended effort of Customs Controller “for his efforts in sanitising our ports”.