Association commends FG for revisiting GES scheme
Dr Tunde Arosanyin, National Coordinator, Zero Hunger Commodities Association, has commended the Federal Government for revisiting the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme for 2016/2017 dry season farming to boost productivity.
Arosanyin made the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said that the scheme, initiated by the last administration, was aimed at reaching to about five to nine million farmers across the country with good quality seeds, fertiliser and pesticides.
According to him, both government and farmers will contribute to the cost of acquiring farming input, as part of the subsidy scheme.
“It is good news that the government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, has responded positively to the clarion call, by revisiting the GES scheme.
“In the last one year, stakeholders in the agricultural sector have been advocating that government revisits the issue of supply of input to farmers it suspended because of some challenges.
“Government has responded positively, and I want to appreciate the effort of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, for being able to bring the scheme back.
“As I speak, some of our farmers in 12 pilot states: Adamawa, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kano, Imo, Rivers, Sokoto, Zamfara and FCT- have begun to receive seeds.
‘’The seeds are; rice, sorghum, maize, millet, fertiliser and some other inputs, at 50 per cent subsidy.”
Arosanyin noted that the development would improve food production, reduce price of food items and save the people from hunger.
He said the extension of the scheme to the rainy season would go a long way to create employment and provide more raw materials for the agro-allied sector in the country.
The national coordinator advised government to monitor the scheme closely, to avoid the problem the past administration had with the agro-allied dealers.
Arosanyin also urged government not to succumb to the request in some quarters to import maize.
He said it was not at a critical time for the country to do so, especially in the case of crops it could produce locally. ‘’We don’t need to import them.’’
“The government is doing everything possible to address some of these challenges that the country is facing,’’ Arosanyin said.
NAN reports that GES scheme is a government initiative under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), aimed at subsidising the cost of major agricultural input, such as fertiliser and seeds, to farmers.
Under the initiative, farmers access the input through electronic distribution channel known as the e-Wallet.
The e-Wallet scheme stipulates that a farmer, registered under the scheme, pays 50 per cent of the cost of farm input, while the Federal and State Governments pay 25 per cent each.
One of the requirements for the scheme is the national farmers’ registration, where farmers’ data are captured into the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s central data bank.