Governor Muhammad Umaru Bago of Niger state has unveiled an ambitious agricultural plan, aiming to cultivate over 4.5 million hectares of land within the next 10 years. During the signing of an MOU with the Alternative Bank in Abuja, he highlighted that only one percent of arable land in the state has been cultivated so far.
Governor Bago revealed the state’s intention to lease earth-moving equipment, including Caterpillar, bulldozers, pale loaders, and graders, to prepare land for the cultivation of approximately 4.5 million hectares, half of the available cultivable land.
Additionally, the governor announced ongoing discussions with Almarai, a Saudi multinational dairy company, for the production of Alfalfa plant havens. Recognizing the economic value of the plant, he emphasized studying its protein content to obtain better seedlings for planting. The Governor directed key officials to collaborate with the Financial Institution to achieve this initiative.
The MOU, signed in Abuja, covers various segments of the economy, including education, health, agriculture, transportation, energy, and infrastructure. Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago expressed delight with the Alternative Bank’s readiness to partner with the state, emphasizing the plan to maximize the agricultural potential.
Garba Mohammed, the Executive Director of the Alternative Bank, highlighted multi-million U.S. dollar opportunities for agricultural investment in the state. He revealed an international partner’s willingness to invest $65 million for a sugarcane plantation, projecting substantial job opportunities, methanol production, animal feed, and electricity generation.
Mohammed also mentioned a development partner from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ready to invest $1 to $10 million for exporting the Alfalfa plant, requiring 100,000 hectares for cultivation. Regarding the purchase of earth-moving equipment, he recommended the state government consider Ijarah Sukuk at the capital market for a 5 to 7-year period, emphasizing cost reduction and a return on investment without significant state funding.