(AGRICULTURE) The Federal Government of Nigeria has set aside about three billion naira (19 million USD) to support agro dealers, Alhaji Bukar Tijani, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, said on Tuesday.
Tijani said this at an event to explain the processes of involved in the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme and the flag-off of the procurement and distribution of fertiliser and seeds to the southern parts of the country.
He said that the procurement and distribution would be done through an electronic distribution channel known as the e-wallet, under the GES scheme, adding that the seeds to be distributed would include rice, maize and soya beans.
“This e-wallet will enable the farmer redeem his part of the GES which is 50 per cent while the Federal Government and the state governments pay 25 per cent each.”
He disclosed that his ministry, the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in conjunction with some commercial banks, had signed a MoU for the benefit of small-holder farmers.
Tijani, however, said that the Federal Government was not involved in the selection of beneficiaries.
He also said that the new policy would enable the procurement and distribution of the inputs to be done by the private sector.
The minister explained that each local government would its own agro-input dealers, who are partners to the suppliers and are not government workers.
According to him, farmers will start receiving Short Message System (SMS) alert on their mobile phones, notifying them of the procurement and distribution processes.
Earlier, Mr Bolawa Osho, the Director of Fertiliser in the ministry, gave assurance that farmers would receive their share of fertiliser by April 31.
He added that the flag-off of procurement and distribution of fertiliser and seeds in other parts of the country would take place on April 25.
In his remarks, Mr Goke Akinboro, the Managing Director of Cellulant, a commerce network operator responsible for the SMS alert, explained that the e-wallet is an electronic system of distributing fertilisers.
He said that through the scheme, farmers would be alerted and continuously updated on all development in the distribution of fertilisers.
Akinboro disclosed that his company would design, develop and operate the technology platform that would provide electronic-mobile registration and validation, and also develop a value chain system.