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Farmers, others call for revival of GES

Farmers, others call for revival of GES

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Farmers, others call for revival of GES

Story from Matthew ELOYI

Representatives of farmers and farm input dealers in the country have expressed a preference for the once-popular input access channel termed Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES).

The stakeholders called for the revival of the scheme or the overhaul of the existing Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).

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In a chat with newsmen on the side of a workshop on input access which took place in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, the farmers and input dealers said both the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) and Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) which have been created after GES have failed the real farmers who are the supposed beneficiaries.

The National Publicity Secretary of All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mohammed Magaji and National President of Nigeria Agricultural Input Dealers’ Association (NAIDA), Alhaji Kabiru Fara spoke on behalf of their colleagues while attending a three-day Northeast Agro-inputs Stakeholders’ Engagement Workshop organised under the aegis of Feed the Future Rural Resilience Activity, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Mercy Corps, and Save the Child.

According to the NAIDA President, the hundreds of billions of naira spent on the Anchor Borrowers Programme so far cannot be justified as far as agricultural productivity is concerned.

Kabiru Fara concluded that if 20 percent of what has been spent on the Anchor Borrowers Programme was spent on GES, every farmer would have been greatly empowered and agricultural productivity massively improved.

While less than a hundred billion was believed to have been spent on GES with massive impact, the CBN said last month it had so far expended N791 billion on Anchor Borrowers, against widespread complaints that middlemen, rather than the real farmers, are the ones feeding fat on the programme.

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Comparing GES with Anchor Borrowers, Mohammed Magaji of AFAN who is also the Commissioner for Agriculture in Gombe State said: “Growth Enhancement Scheme was popular and it remains the farmers’ choice. I am not discrediting Anchor Borrowers, they are doing their best but farmers prefer GES because under GES, wherever you were, whoever you were, you got alert directly for your fertiliser and you would go and collect it.

He advised the Federal Government to either resuscitate GES or remodel Anchor Borrowers Programme to make it benefit more of the intended rural farmers.

Farmers, others call for revival of GES

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