Why farmers are yet to access FG’s N15.68b for farm input since 2017
Since 2017, farmers across the country have been unable to access about N15.68b budgetary allocations for farm input support services, according to investigations.
Findings revealed that yearly budgetary allocations are provided for Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES), but unfortunately farmers have been denied opportunity to benefit in anyway from the support services.
Report has it that for the period under review, farmers have independently source for the input from the open market. For instance, in the 2019 budget, N1.69b was budgeted for GES, while another N999m was provided for Agricultural input.
In 2018, N3.2b was provided for the farm support services, and the 2018 a whooping N9.79b was provided for the intervention program that has never reached the real farmers.
The GES scheme was introduced by the then Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Akinwunmi Adesina to ensure farmers get access to agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers chemicals among others at a subsidized rate.
But when Audu Ogbeh assumed office, he insisted he would work out a new modality for the implementation of the scheme, saying the scheme has been fraught with corruption allegations.
He had hinged the allegations on the N76b owed the agro dealers by the Jonathan administration. Although farmers had applauded the scheme, insisting they had never enjoyed a better time like when the GES program was in operation, wherein with just a text message on when and where to redeem their subsidised farm inputs, but unfortunately, presently the reverse is the case.
The farmers had lamented that the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative introduced by the Federal Government to enable farmers access fertilizer at the rate of N5, 500, instead of the market price of N8, 500-N10, 000, is a far cry from the expectation, insisting that the input does not contain the necessary nutrient to increase their yield, as claimed by the government.
A top Agro input supplier, who does not want his name in the print told The Guardian via a telephone interview that although government has been providing farm inputs, but it has not been getting to the real farmers, instead it’s the portfolio farmers that are getting it.