Ministry implore stakeholders on 2016/2017 dry season farming scheme

To enhance transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES), the Federal Government has concluded plans to implement the 2016/2017 dry season intervention scheme.
 Speaking at the opening ceremony of the GES Stakeholders Preparatory Meeting for  2016/2017 Dry Season Farming  in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development,  Dr. Shehu Ahmed explained that lessons learnt from the implementation of the 2016 wet season GES would be addressed in order to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of the 2016/2017 dry season GES programme.
 The season covered twelve pilot states including Adamawa, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano ,Katsina, Kogi,  Imo, Rivers, Sokoto, Zamfara and Federal Capital Territory.
   The Permanent Secretary who was represented by the Director-General National Seed Council, Dr. Philip Ojo said measures to ensure effective and efficient implementation include the use of tablet devices as a means of redemption by farmers in order to eliminate double redemption and sharp practices.
  In a statement obtained from the Ministry’s website, Special Adviser to the Minister on New Media, Aishat Onusi, quoted  Dr. Ahmed as saying  the remaining outstanding claims of agro –dealers and input suppliers are currently being reconciled for payment while the Memorandum of Understanding on the payment of the Interest Draw Down (IDD) upon which loans will be given to the agro- dealers and input suppliers between the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Ministry would be endorsed.
Ahmed explained that the focus of the 2016/2017 dry season would be on four (4) major crops namely: rice, wheat, maize and groundnuts with their input packages which would be available at redemption centres to ensure maximum output, while a total number of 1,500,580 farmers are targeted to be supported under value chain crops in the 2016/2017 dry season as follow: rice -1,197,240 farmers, maize – 65,055 farmers, wheat – 234,445 farmers and groundnut – 3,840 farmers.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director, Farm Input Support Services Department of the ministry, Engr. Jatto Ohiare Badams   said the meeting was apt for stakeholders such as the state directors, agro- dealers and seed companies to brainstorm on how to move forward.
The Director said “The present administration is looking at improving GES so that we get value for our money and the inputs get to the farmers while dealers benefit from the exercise. For stakeholders to be in business, it is very important to rub minds together and discuss challenges faced especially during the wet season and proffer solution so that we will get a better position of implementing the 2016/2017 dry season GES”.
In his contribution, the National Chairman, Agro Dealers Association of Nigeria, Kabir Umar Faro canvassed more supports especially funds and technology from the Federal Government in order to boost local production of fertilizers in the country.