By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi.
Bauchi State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development , Alhaji Muhammad Yusuf disclosed that 31,756 dry season farmers in the state will benefit from the Federal Government’s Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) this year.
Speaking at the flag off ceremony of the scheme in Bauchi Monday, the director recalled that GES, E-Wallet programme was introduced by the Federal Government in 2012 to provide farm inputs to registered farmers in the country.
Alhaji Muhammad Yusuf explained that the programme has been helping farmers in the state to boost their agricultural production.
He said that in order to ensure transparency and accountability, various stringent measures have been put in place to ensure that neither the government nor the farmer is shortchanged.
According to him, the registered farmers for the programme will access the farm inputs through 18 designated selling points across Bauchi state.
Yusuf stated that the registered farmers have been segregated along four crops value chain which include; Rice with 24,000 registered farmers; Maize – 1400, Wheat – 5,500 and Groundnut – 856, adding that each value chain has its input package.
Also speaking, the State Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Alhaji Yakubu Kirfi noted that Bauchi has not only embraced the programme, but is one of the top performers state in the country.
Kirfi reminded the farmers that the Bauchi state government has been giving support and priority to agricultural development in the state.
“In 2015 when the administration came newly, His Excellency was able to procure 10,000 metric tons of fertilizer and sold to the farmers at 50% subsidy. Similarly, in the 2016 farming season 15,000 metric tons of fertilizer was procured and sold to the teeming farmers of the state at same subsidized rate”, he said.
The commissioner said that the state government has also assisted the farmers with other farm inputs and provided its counterpart fund for the Fadama III Project which, he said, has impacted positively on agricultural development in the state.
Speaking after the ceremony, one of the farmers and chairman of Bauchi State Dry Season Farmers Association, Alhaji Anas Umar said that the programme is good as it allows farmers to have farm inputs at a subsidized rate.
He however said that the farmers will appreciate a further reduction in the percentage of contribution to less than 50 percent or an outright interest free loan with enough time for repayment.
Alhaji Yakubu Kirfi stressed the need for the state government to further scrutinize the beneficiaries and give the inputs through associations instead of dealing with individuals.
According to him, there are people who were not real farmers but they collect the inputs to sell not engage in farming activities
By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi.