Our Reporter: THERESA EGBA, ABUJA
In line with its strategies to strengthen the agricultural value chain in the country, the Federal Government has moved to implement a legal framework that will govern the administration and implementation of the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme.
This is aimed at consolidating the GES programme so that it will survive the changes in government and leadership. Disclosing this yesterday in Abuja during a one-day stakeholders meeting on the Draft Bill for the Consolidation of the GES Scheme under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Legal Consultant, Prof. Yemi George, noted that according to statistics, no administration since the commencement of Nigeria has recorded the success recorded in the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to him, over 15 million farmers have been registered on the data base. He said that close to 10 million farmers have been receiving agricultural inputs from the Federal Government with the cooperation of the states through the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.
In his presentation of the draft bill on the GES scheme, he said there is an establishment of the National Agricultural Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (NAGESS), which has the objective of promoting greater collaboration between the federal, state and local governments in facilitating the provision of GES to agriculture in the country. It will also create a framework for attracting and sustaining greater private sector investment in the provision of GES to support agriculture in the country, define platforms, personnel and allocate responsibilities necessary for efficient implementation of NAGESS, facilitate direct purchase by farmers of agricultural inputs and encourage the private sector to take the lead in the sub-sector by developing marketing channels that will ensure sale of agricultural inputs to farmers all over Nigeria.
Director, Farm Input Support Service Department, Osho Akinbolawa, also stated that if the bill is implemented, it will become a law, which will continue to support the farmers, assuring the farmers that at least on a yearly basis two bags of fertilizer will be distributed to them, adding that no administration that comes in will overthrow it as it then becomes a law.
According to him, “agriculture as an important sector of the economy is a source of employment, food security, foreign exchange earning and poverty reduction potential.
“ATA is directly building on the president’s transformation agenda and recognition of agricultural sector as one of the key drivers of the economy.”
He said the number of registered farmers used in 2014 remained the same as in 2013 (10.5 million).
Source : SunOnline