In a bid to boost farming mechanisation and ensure foods security, a non-governmental organisation, Syngneta Foundation Nigeria, has facilitated the process of assisting farmers to have access to machine through reputable leading companies — Hello Tractors in partnership with Heifer International.
The tractors were handed over to the farmers recently in an event organised by Hello Tractors in conjunction with Heifer International at Efugo’s farm, Kuje Abuja.
The theme of the event was Tractors financing for increased agricultural productivity and income for smallholders’ farmers.
This gesture from the Foundation is coming when access to mechanisation is essential to expedite agricultural productivity in the country.
Speaking at the sideline of the event, the Country Manager of Syngenta Foundation, Isaiah Gabriel, said that the midwifing of the tractor financing embarked upon by the foundation was in line with the organisation’s mandate of improving smallholders’ farmers to have access to machines.
“Syngneta Foundation is saddled with the responsibility of improving the life of smallholders’ farmers, through productivity and access to finance. Also, if you look at our mission statement, we have different streams – Agric service, Seed2Seed, and insurance.
“In the Agric service component, we have a stream called mechanization, which is improving smallholders’ farmers to have access to machines. It is based on this element that the foundation reached out to Hello Tractors to see how our Hub managers will have access to tractors,” Isaiah said.
He added: “We did the linking and the connection, while the Hub Managers, who are the beneficiaries become the super booking agent that take the machine down to the other smallholders. Two of our hub managers are beneficiaries and we trust that they will utilize the machine for the benefits of the society.”
Isaiah further stated that a pilot study on tractor linkages was done in 2020 by the foundation.
“The study revealed that the appetite of smallholders’ farmers is very high in terms of mechanisation. Use of crude implement in this modern age is becoming outdated due to the quest for food to cure hunger ravaging African continent. The availability of tractor to plough hectares of land is a god step in the right direction.”
Speaking on challenges, Isaiah cited poor equipment as the reasons why Hello Tractors reached out to financial institutions who gave the tractors to farmers in form of soft loan which is repayable within three to five years.
Also speaking, the SFN-Agric-Service Manager, Timothy Azakere, alluded to the fact that the foundation was an indirect guarantor in the linkages, because it was the organisation that midwifed the entire process leading to selection of the Hub Managers.
“We are indirect guarantors, in the sense that we are the one that linked the hub managers to Hello Tractors.”
Commenting on the trust reposed on the selected beneficiaries, he stated the Hub Managers who have benefited from the scheme had worked with Syngneta Foundation for sometimes now, hence, “they are reliable, credible and trustworthy.”
He assured that more hub managers will be linked up in the forthcoming September edition.
The height of the event was the signing of 20-page agreement paper by the beneficiaries titled: Rent-to-own Agreement.
The agreement stated that the beneficiaries “shall pay monthly rental fee to Hello Tractors together with any other applicable payment.” It further revealed that the tractors will be delivered with one year maintenance agreement offered by the manufacturer.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Roseline Omoroka, from Abuja hailed the foundation for facilitating the soft loan tractor financing scheme.
She said: “I got to know Hello Tractor through Syngenta Foundation which brought me into their programme and greenhouse activities.”
She appreciated the foundation for the great help and assistance, promising not to betray the trust SYN repose on her.
Also speaking, another beneficiary, Mrs Latifat Ajegbe, from Kano, said; “ I want to say big thank you to Syngneta Foundation for a job well done. I am the happiest woman on earth. This is my dream, to acquire a tractor. The dream came to pass through Syngenta Foundation. They have been a great help to us especially in Kano. They are really touching the lives of smallholders’ farmers.”
Earlier, Hello Tractor Country Manager, Nneka Enwonwu, said that the Pay As You Go ( PAYG) tractor financing is an innovation to support smallholder mechanisation, food security and rural entrepreneurship in the country.
She noted that through technology, the company had connected tractor owners to smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa “through a farm equipment sharing application that bridges the gap between traditional farming and more technologically advanced approaches.”
She further charged the farmers not to cut corners, but rather put the tractors to good use.
In his goodwill message, the representatives of Heifer International, Olaranwaju Oniyitan, explained that the tractor financing model was an innovation to support smallholder mechanisation, food Security and rural entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
He, therefore, called on the beneficiaries to make use of the opportunity to break out of poverty by leveraging on the scheme to eke a living.