Agro Mechanisation


Recently, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh said the Federal Government was scrapping the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) – an initiative of the Jonathan administration in which farmers get subsidized farm inputs through text massages.

A new programme, Agricultural Inputs and Mechanization Scheme (AIMS), will now replace the GES programme.

Chief Ogbeh, while unveiling the SMART Model Farm Site by John Deere Tractors Manufacturing Company at Gwagwalada in Abuja, reiterated that the scheme could no longer be sustained, because most state governments failed to comply with the 25% counterpart fund for their farmers resulting in the accumulation of huge debts by the Federal Government.

Under the GES, state governments and the Federal Government were to pay 25% each while the farmer paid 50% of the cost of inputs that were mostly two bags of fertilizer and seeds.

It could be recalled that the present administration inherited debts totaling about N76 billion owed agro-dealers for input they supplied in the last two farming seasons ahead of election.

Although it has paid some of the debt, the government still owes agro-dealers – a situation that has put many of them (dealers) in trouble with their banks.

The minister also said that some of the claims were dubiously inflated, which was responsible for the high figures that were even bigger than the budget of the ministry. He added however that “we are still paying.”

On the new programme (Agricultural Inputs and Mechanisation Services, AIMS) that is replacing the GES, he said two centres would be established in all the 774 local government areas of the country in collaboration with the Association of Tractor Owners and Hiring Facility of Nigeria (TOFAN) to get the vital inputs and services to farmers in the federation.

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