Abuja, Aug. 14, 12013 (NAN) The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has urged the Federal Government to include non-crop farmers in the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA).
Dr Tunde Arosanyin, the National Financial Secretary of AFAN, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
He observed that the livestock and fishery sub-sectors were not adequately catered for under ATA.
”We have highlighted these areas and this is an issue that we raised sometimes last year and we believe that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is looking into these sub-sectors.
”Agriculture, like you know, is very vast. We have the crops section; even within the crop section we have the arable and the tree crops,” Arosanyin said.
He stated that farmers, especially in the livestock and fisheries sub-sectors, had not benefited from the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme.
Arosanyin added that activities involving the non-crop sector should be continuous since they spanned through the year.
He said it was only when inputs were channelled to the non-crop sub-sector that there would be a holistic approach to inputs distribution to farmers through GES.
He, however, expressed optimism that something urgent would be done in the non-crop sub-sector before the end of the year.
”The ministry is doing well both in terms of arable and tree crops because I am aware millions of seedlings of oil palm and cocoa are being released to farmers through the GES system.
”So, in the crop sector, efforts are being geared up to bridge the gap.
But even within that crop sector, most farmers that were captured last year cannot get inputs this year,” Arosanyin said.
He stressed that the association raised the issue at the inception of the inputs distributionduring the year, adding that this set of farmerscould not redeem inputs for the year.
The GES scheme is a Federal Government initiative under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, aimed at subsidising the cost of major agricultural inputs, such as fertilisers and seeds.
Under the initiative, farmers access inputs through an electronic distribution channel known as the e-Wallet.
The condition of the e-Wallet scheme stipulates that a farmer registered under the scheme pays 50 per cent of the cost of farm inputs while the federal and state governments pay 25 per cent each.
One of the requirements for the scheme is the national farmers’ registration exercise, where farmers’ data are captured into the ministry’s central data bank.