FG set to leverage ICT-based platform for effective delivery of farm inputs to farmers in Nigeria
The National programme coordinator noted that delivery of the inputs would be perfected and the mistakes of 2022 will be corrected to ensure a seamless delivery of the farm inputs.
Mr Ibrahim Arabi, National Programme Coordinator, Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. He said that the proposed technology would ensure that farm inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, and agrochemicals, among others, got to the farmers across the country.
Arabi said: “We are using an ICT platform delivery system to leverage the system of distribution, we are going to include the farmers and farm inputs in the system to make it an ICT treatment and transparent.”
He said that the recent NAGS meeting was organised to sensitise farmers and fashion out the way forward in the implementation of the scheme.
“This meeting is on the strategy to support farmers with subsidised inputs and also with the institutional capacity for increased productivity,” the coordinator said.
On whether the inputs were affordable, Arabi said the Federal Government was giving out about 80 per cent subsidy of the commodity to the farmers. According to him, the government is using the ICT platform to ensure that farmers have smooth delivery of inputs for the 2023 farming season.
Arabi said that delivery of the inputs would be perfected and the mistakes of 2022 corrected to ensure a seamless delivery of the farm inputs.
Also speaking, Mr Ishaku Buba, Deputy Director, Growth Enhancement Scheme in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the government was creating a system to evaluate its support to the farmers.
He said: ” We are creating a system whereby we will be able to see the impact of the government on the farmers.
”For instance, I supported you, I met you at this level, and I want to know the impact of what I have supported you with.”
Buba said the distribution of inputs would soon start, adding that the government was targeting the right time of farming activities. On the cost of inputs such as fertilizers, he said that the cost was dynamic depending on the prevailing market price of the commodity.
“On cost, we look at the prevailing market price and put our subsidy based on that, we cannot fix the price in January and then use it now it is dynamic.
“We have looked at the climatic conditions, we know the procedures to follow for the planting season and we are targeting this period.
“The distribution of inputs will take two to three weeks, but we will start with the seeds. We’ll show the farmers how to apply the seeds very well so that we can get a better result from them,” Buba said.
Mrs Mary Afan, President of the Small-Scale Women Farmers Organisation (SWOFON), said that the women were waiting for the Federal Government to distribute the farm inputs.
According to her, fertilizer which was bought in the market at the rate of ₦27,000 or ₦30,000 a bag in 2022, had increased to ₦35,000 and ₦38,000 per bag. She urged the government to consider giving more incentives to the farmers so that they could increase production.
Meanwhile, the Fertiliser Producers, Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) has blamed the current hike in the price of the product on foreign exchange. Mr Gideon Nagedu, the association’s Executive Secretary, said almost all the blending materials for fertilizer were imported.
Nagedu told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the current policy on forex had drastically affected the price of the commodity. According to him, in June, the price of a 50kg bag of fertilizer was as low as ₦18, 000, adding that at the moment, it had risen to ₦25, 000 to ₦26, 000. respectively.
Nagedu said: “Interestingly prices of fertilizer have been fluctuating as a bag of 50kg fertilizer that sold as high as ₦29,000 last year, just a month ago came as low as ₦18,000 and in some places ₦20,000.
“ But, suddenly a change in foreign exchange eventually skyrocketed the price of the product. Most of the blending materials for fertilizer are imported.”
In another development, some farmers in Abuja have decried the high cost of farm inputs, saying this would have a negative impact on food security. They said only a few farmers have the resources to buy fertilizers and pesticides to apply on their farms.
Mr Adams Dogo, a farmer in Bwari Area Council said the price of a bag of fertilizer was high, contributing to the low crop production yield. He said: “Most of us local farmers in the rural areas find it very difficult to buy fertilizers and pesticides that we need on the farm, most times we use local means to help boost our farms”.
Mrs Victoria Yohana, also a farmer, appealed to the government to ensure that farmers at all levels got access to farm inputs. The President of the Potatoes Farmers Association (POFAN), Mr Daniel Okafor, said his members were yet to get fertilizers from the government.
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