(NAN) The Federal Government said on Friday it saved N25 billion from fertiliser distribution policy in 2012 by directly supplying the commodity to farmers.
The direct supply is part of the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) introduced by the Federal Government.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said this in Asaba in a paper he presented at the 9th All Nigerian Conference of Editors programme organised by Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE).
He said that the approach eliminated middlemen and the massive corruption associated with the fertiliser distribution chain nationwide.
Adesina said that 10 million farmers had been registered under GES, adding that 1.5 million smallholder farmers received subsidised fertiliser and seeds, using their mobile telephones in 2012.
“So far in 2013, more than 3.4 million farmers have received their subsidised inputs via the GES programme and electronic wallet scheme, and we expect to reach close to five million farmers by the end of the dry season,” he said.
He said the reform in the fertiliser and seed sub-sector had attracted the private sector, with the number of local companies involved in seed production growing from 11 in 2011 to 70 in 2012.
He announced that Syngenta, the world’s leading seed company, had established a plant in the country, to develop and commercialise high-yielding seeds for farmers.
The minister said that Dangote Group had invested about N542.5 billion in fertiliser production in the country.
He added that two foreign companies, Indorama and Mitsibushi, had concluded arrangements with the Federal Government to invest 1.3 billion dollars (about N232.5bn) each, in the establishment of fertiliser plants in Nigeria.
He said that existing fertiliser companies in the country were setting up their own supply networks to reach the farmers directly.
According to him, in 2012, the companies directly sold N15 billion worth of fertilisers to farmers, adding that “In the same year, seed companies sold N1.5 billion seeds directly to the farmers”.
He said Nigeria had become more transparent in its fertiliser distribution, adding that “for the first time ever, as a Minister of Agriculture, I can tell the nation who got subsidised fertilisers”.
“So revolutionary is the electronic wallet system that several African countries, as well as Brazil, India and China, have expressed interest in adopting the system for reaching their own farmers with subsidised farm inputs.
“Nigeria, which used to be known for the worst level of fertiliser corruption, is today exporting transparency,” Adesina said. (NAN)