Satisfied with the genuine and effective intervention in the agricultural sector, by the Kano state government, under Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the umbrella body of farmers in the state, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kano state branch, has assured that they would support Ganduje's re-election bid, in next year's general election.
This was hinted by the Kano State Branch Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Faruk Mudi Rabi'u, during the distribution exercise programme of 55 tractors to farmers from the 44 local governments of the state, recently held in Kano.
The programme is part of the efforts being made by Ganduje administration to help farmers throw away hoe and embrace modern day farming, where technology takes centre stage. It was a serious partnership between the state, farmers, federal government and an Indian farming implements company.
At the occasion, Rabi'u assured that "Your Excellency, we are excelling because of your total support and commitment towards the development of farmers in the state. Under this programme, a poor farmer can own a tractor without any hitch. We embrace your "throw away hoe and embrace tractor."
"Without any fear of mincing words, all farmers in the state are solidly behind your re-election bid sir. We believe, with you around, farmers will be developed fastly. While technology will be our driving force, we are sure that, this administration will always come to our rescue and assistance," says AFAN Chairman.
In a later interview after the distribution of tractors event, the AFAN Chairman listed some interventions accorded them by the Ganduje administration. "It was this governor Ganduje's administration that gave farmers a soft loan of N100m for us to get improved seeds. That had immensely helped our members to get good harvest," says.
Adding that, after a while Ganduje effected, for them, another loan of N50m for another round of soft loan, emphasising that, "...that helped tremendously. This shows how committed our able governor is in this sector of the economy. Which goes in tandem with the federal government's economic diversification policy."
"It was Ganduje regime that stood as our guarantor to get a loan from fertiliser and chemical companies of the total N125m. If not because we got such a guarantor the loan wouldn't have been secured. The loan was used effectively, efficiently and judiciously," Rabi'u reveals.
"All farmers were happy also when governor Ganduje stood as the guarantor of wheat farmers and got N18.2 loan from Union Bank for the purchase of cleaning machine.
Thank be to Allah, the loan had already been serviced. Every Kobo of the loan was paid back by the wheat farmers. This gives hiw an encouragement also. That we didn't fail him," says AFAN Chairman.
Kano state government according to the farmers chairman, gave them a combined-harvester to the tune of N20m free for the farmers to develop their engagement further for a virile agricultural development for the state.
This, he said "...is an indication that our governor is farmer-friendly. He is also all out to push forth for our genuine and sustained development in this sector."
During the tractorization programme recently held at the Farm Centre, Kano, when tractors were distributed to farmers across the 44 local governments, governor Ganduje, to the hearing of all, revealed that his administration's commitment in uplifting the agricultural sector informs his decision to give the sum of N132m as grant to farmers to acquire the tractors. It is a grant not a loan.
"This magnanimity to farmers can only be seen in Kano. And may be a few other places. So why can't we support him for another round of 4 years? He is always ready to give us a helping hand, all in his effort to move the state away from being a mono-economy," he added.
Moving away from using commercial banks, may be because of some charges that farmers didn't feel very safe with, was what moved the association of farmers requested from governor Ganduje that he should kindly allow and give farmers licence to be dealing with one of the state micro finance banks.
"Without any objection, our dear governor accepts our request. Which means our activities will now be shifted to be dealing with micro finance bank, that would be saddled with our activities. This will make our business more profitable and more encouraging," Rabi'u insisted.
Further investigation in the state reveals that, in the last few years of Ganduje administration, farmers constitute the largest part of those going to perform Hajj to Sa'udi Arabia annually. While many other citizens that were hitherto had no concern with farm, are now "big time" farmers.
Ganduje's unprecedented performance in the agricultural sector is largely connected with President Muhammadu Buhari's call for economic diversification and running away from mono-economy, since from his inauguration as President of the Federal Republic.
A source from world agricultural agency believes that, Ganduje is the frontline governor in Nigeria, whose compliance with President Buhari's call for economic diversification is more appreciable and encouraging.
"Ganduje keeps unflinching faith with the agricultural sector, who believes in greater partnership with farmers associations, whose intervention increases the output of the agricultural produce, his resuscitation of the abandoned and moribund fertiliser company, Kano Agricultural and Supply Company (KASCO) and whose farmer-friendly policies are supportive of all other stakeholders in the sector," challenges the global source.
Anwar is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Kano State