The Deputy Chief of Party, Cellulant Nigeria limited, Gbenga Owolabi, has said five million farmers are to benefit from the 2016 Federal Government Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) Programme.
Mr Owolabi gave assurances that while the GES programme of previous years was faced with a number of challenges not only caused by the agro dealers, the 2016 GES will address the issue of farmers being offline as “Every farmer must have a phone number so as to enable us link the identity of the farmers to a phone number.”
Owolabi made the revelation at the agro dealers’ stakeholders forum which was held in Abuja recently.
According to him, “it is not in the interest of Cellulant to punish agro dealers, but we should all understand that we are facing a crisis in the economy right now,” noting that farmers in the past two years had not benefited from the GES.
“For us in Cellulant, we noticed some challenges in the last GES programme and we are trying our possible best to ensure that such do not occur again.”
Also speaking, the National Chairman, Growth Enhancement Scheme Agro Dealers Association of Nigeria (GESAAN), Alhaji Kabiru Umar Fara, also called on the Federal Government to balance the payment of N41 billion still owed to the agro dealers since 2014.
He noted that the Federal Government had earlier paid the sum of N20 billion, while still owing N41 billion as a result of state government non remittance.
“Our major challenge and concern is that the Federal Government should pay us and look for money from the states government, because the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was between the federal and states governments.”
Fara added that of the N20 billion paid, 88 per cent went to fertilizer dealers, while only 12 per cent was paid to seed dealers.