18 January 2013

Nigeria: Five Million Farmers to Benefit From GES Scheme in 2013

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has announced that five million farmers would be registered to benefit from the GES scheme in 2013.

The minister stated this while receiving the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mr. Rajiv Shah, during a courtesy call on him in Abuja, yesterday, adding that "this is part of the federal government's effort to add five million metric tons of food every year."

The minister recalled that the e-Wallet was working and the mobile phone was the most powerful tool in fighting corruption in the agriculture sector, recalling that due to the successful implementation of the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme through which 1.2 million small-holder farmers accessed government-subsidised fertilisers and free improved seeds, an estimated 8.1 million metric tonnes of food was added to the national harvest in 2012.

The minister added that because the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) was working,$8 billion foreign investments flowed into the sector in 2012, alone and commended President Goodluck Jonathan for giving full support to the sector by chairing the Agricultural Transformation Implementation Council (ATIC) and the Eminent Persons Group, which advise him on agriculture.

He also said mobile telephones have been used to effectively tackle and end corruption in the agriculture sector in the country.

"Deploying the mobile phone to deliver agro-inputs to farmers through the e-Wallet has ended 40 years of corruption in the procurement and distribution of fertilisers by the federal government," he said.

The minister explained that the mobile phone has boosted the productivity of small-holder farmers in the country by delivering improved seeds and much-needed fertilisers to them and contributed in the economic revival of rural areas, adding "this is a country where agriculture is changing."

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