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Five million farmers to receive FG’s support

By on June 15, 2012

FIVE  million farmers are to benefit from the Federal Government’s Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) this year, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, said.

The minister made the disclosure yesterday, in Abuja, while briefing newsmen on the roll out of fertilisers and seeds to small-scale farmers

Adesina said the Federal Government was able to raise N30 billion from banks to fund the supply of seeds and fertilisers to farmers with support from the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He said that the joint effort reduced the interest rates charged for accessing bank loans from 15 per cent to seven per cent.

The minister said such development was an indication of the banking sector’s support for the the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda.

“We were able to raise the sum of N30 billion from our banks for our seed companies and fertiliser companies to supply farm inputs to farmers.

“We were able to also reduce the interest rates that (of) the companies who were accessing this bank loans from 15 per cent to seven per cent, which means that the banking system is beginning to really support the Agricultural Transformation Agenda. As you know, the most important thing when you are providing support is whether you know the farmers.
“So, it is very important for us to know the farmers that are going to be getting this; obviously, we cannot reach all farmers in one year, so we decided to start with five million farmers this year.”

Adesina gave the assurance that though only 4.3 million farmers were registered in the recently developed data base for farmers, adding that government would ensure that the number increased massively.

According to him, 500,000 tonnes of assorted fertilisers will be distributed to farmers in the states.

The minister said in furtherance of the GES agreement, the states in the Northern part of the country would receive 14,000 tonnes of fertilisers each, while the states in the Southern parts would get 12,000 tonnes of same.

He said that the fertilisers would be sold to the farmers by agro-dealers.

Adesina said Help Centres would be established in each local government area to ease the reconciliation process, which would last 10 days after the redemption exercise.

The minister also said redemption centres would be sited in all the states to enable farmers to easily access agricultural inputs.

“Redemption centres have been created by states because it is important so that our farmers don’t walk long distances in search of seeds and fertilisers.”

The News Agency of Nigeria noted that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has 17 redemption centres; Plateau 57; Anambra 25; Lagos 5; Osun 3; and Bayelsa 15, while Sokoto has 150 redemption centres.