ABUJA – Not less than 100,000 farmers have benefited in the FCT 2014 Growth Enhancement Support scheme Touch and Pay (GES-tap) for the rainy season farming, the FCT Administration has said.
The Minister of State for FCT, Ms Olajumoke Akinjide, represented by the Executive Secretary, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mrs Olvadi Madayi, performed the ceremony in Kuje on Thursday.
The minister said the programme was designed and packaged to transform the small scale farmers from poverty to lucrative agricultural business entrepreneurs.
She said: “Farmers, who registered on the GES-tap project, will receive their farm inputs at subsidised rates.
“Thus two bags of fertiliser at 50 per cent subsidy and 10 kg of maize or 12.5 kg of rice at 90 per cent subsidy.
“The farmers are expected to pay 10 per cent for the cost of the seed, whereas the Federal Government pays the balance of 90 per cent.
“The farmers pay N200 for maize and N310 for rice, whereas the Federal Government pays N1,800 and N2,700 to augment the prices of the seed respectively.
“ The government has reduced the cost of fertiliser to N5,500 both for NPK and UREA; government pays the balance.
“ The complete package for each of the farmers redeeming maize is N5,700, while it is N5,810 for a farmer redeeming rice,’’ she said.
Akinjide said the FCTA was determined to improve the productivity of farmers by giving them access to improved technology and other production incentives.
“Our extension personnel are being trained to provide information and guides on modern agricultural practices that will enhance the farmers’ productivity, “ she said.
Akinjide said that the FCTA had also provided investments in farm mechanisation, processing and marketing.
She said that the administration also entered into partnership with a private sector to develop a multi million naira abattoir in Tugan Maje.
The private sector, she said, would also promote cattle breeding and diary development in Paikon Kore in the FCT.
The minister said the administration was also discussing with the Bank of Agriculture in the area of affordable agricultural credit facilities for the farmers.
She appealed to investors in the private sector to take advantage of the enabling environment provided by government under its Agricultural Transformation Agenda to participate in the development of agriculture.
“We are inviting investors to partner with us in the areas of development of improved seed varieties, including high productive fish and livestock breeds that are adaptable to FCT agro-climatic condition.
“There are abundant business opportunities for investments in the areas of agricultural land clearing and tractors hiring services.”
Akinjide said the administration’s goal was to make agriculture sustainable and profitable enterprise to attract all prospective entrepreneurs and other unemployed men, women and youths.
Earlier, Dr Charles Momo, State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FCT, commended the FCTA for its determination and improved farming methods.
He advised farmers to take advantage of the gesture and redouble their production for the year.
Mr Adamu Zinze, Director, Department of Agriculture FCT, said the FCTA had signed to the Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing in Agriculture Lending System programme.
The system is being promoted by the CBN to ensure that farmers have easy access to loans.
He urged the small scale farmers to organise themselves into co-operative groups to enable them to access the facilities. (NAN)