The project is a private-sector initiative designed to open up an initial 500,000 hectares of unused arable land using the appropriate agricultural land development technology, a statement indicated on Thursday.
It stated that the payment was structured on a flexible deferred system over a period of one to three years.
“The project also accommodates farm management and global best practices along the agricultural value chain to optimise the use of the developed lands. It is structured to complement and optimise government’s efforts and resources in land development using a cost-split mechanism to support small-holder farmers and youth empowerment programmes, while creating a flexible investment window for medium and large-scale primary production investors to open more land at reduced initial cost,” the statement read in part.
Speaking at the MoU signing event, the General Manager Machine Sales, Mantrac Nigeria, Mohammed Ibrahim, described the joint effort with NAMEL as one that would yield magnificent results to the benefit of the agricultural sector and the nation at large.
Ibrahim said that the company was totally committed to empowering farmers to realise higher yields. He added that some crops of interest for cultivation were rice, wheat, cassava, sugarcane, and yam, among others.
According to the statement, the partnership also covers the provision of other services like irrigation, access roads, soil fertility advice and other valuable assistance aimed at ensuring that farmers produce crops twice or three times a year.
He said, “Mantrac Nigeria as the sole authorised CAT dealer in Nigeria and we distribute and support the full range of CAT products. We are proud to supply the best equipment to the most demanding industries with commitment to keeping your equipment running at peak productivity. We also offer integrated business solutions backed by technical expertise and local knowledge.”
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who was represented by an official of the ministry, Victor Mayomi, assured the parties of robust government support, especially in the urgent task of making agriculture a major non-oil revenue earner.
Also commenting on the partnership, the Managing Director of NAMEL, Dr Ahmed Adekunle, said the deal and partnership was first of its kind.
He said, “It is the first private sector company partnering strongly with the Federal government to manage public sector funding for agriculture and economic development in general. Now, we have another private sector partner for land development for agriculture.
“What we are signing today was discussed several years ago. However, we developed the MoU over a year ago to open up 500,000 hectares of farmlands to provide market for our mechanisation programme. We’re not opening land alone, we are also looking at inputs application, packaging, standardisation and others.
“We are still going to meet with Mantrac Nigeria to clear another 500,000 hectares. We’re doing this in collaboration with banks and about 20 companies that have signified interest to partner with us.”
By Anna Okon