28 March 2014

Nigeria: GES Tap Targets 500,000 Farmers in FCT, Sokoto State

The International Centre for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development (IFDC) has launched the GES Touch and Pay (TAP) project which would target 500,000 farmers in the FCT and Sokoto state and had employed 250 youths who have been deployed to the six area councils of the FCT.

This is contained in a press statement issued by Mrs Feyikemi Adurogbangba, the Communications Coordinator, IFDC, in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the project was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) with the aim of addressing the challenges that had emerged in the implementation of the Federal Government's GES scheme, therefore reaching out to more farmers.

It quoted the Country Coordinator of IFDC, Mr. Scott Wallace as saying that "the technology would help bolster the long awaited green revolution under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda".

Wallace stressed that it is an approach to address the challenges that had been experienced in the implementation of the GES scheme since its inception in 2012, such as the poor mobile network coverage that hindered farmers from participating in the scheme.

He said that GES TAP technology is an improvement on the methodology used to collect farmer's data as well as transact business between the farmer and agro-dealer.

"It is an offline technology that captures the data of farmers along with their photographs, after registration, a TAP card will be issued to registered farmers, which will be used to redeem subsidised inputs at designated redemption centres."

This feat, however, underscored why Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other delegates from the Ministry paid a courtesy visit to Consult Hyperion, a London based information technology firm, which is partnering with IFDC to implement this project.

The GES scheme is a Federal Government initiative under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, aimed at subsidising the cost of major agricultural inputs, such as fertilisers and seeds.

Under the initiative, farmers access inputs through an electronic distribution channel known as the e-Wallet.

The condition of the e-Wallet scheme stipulates that a farmer registered under the scheme pays 50 percent of the cost of farm inputs while the federal and state govern-ments pay 25 per cent each.

One of the requirements for the scheme is the national farmers' registration exercise, where farmers' data are captured into the ministry's central data bank.

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