VENTURES AFRICA – The latest fruit of Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) shows 400 of the 788 registered fish farmers in southern Edo state have been captured in the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme. The project, which aims to boost capacity for local farmers, is being executed by the Federal Government in collaboration with state and local governments across the country.
This was disclosed by Mr Abdul Oro, Edo State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, at the flag-off ceremony of the 2014 Fisheries GES in the state. According to him, each of the 400 farmers will be entitled to 500 catfish juveniles and 5 bags of feeds after paying about $74 (N12,500), an amount that reflects a 50 percent subsidy.
“This scheme is a Federal Government initiative being executed in collaboration with Edo State Government and it gives us joy for the continuity of the scheme in fisheries sub sector of Agriculture. The first from which 300 artisanal fishermen in Edo State benefitted was in 2013,” Oro said.
He further explained that the location of all redemption centers will be made known to the farmers in due course along with the necessary payment modalities.
“While the Edo State Government applauds the sustainability of this scheme, it is our desire that the fishermen in the artisanal value chain be considered this year in order to substantially increase fish production in the state,” he added.
The Agricultural Transformation Agenda has remained one of the major success stories of the country’s current administration. With initiatives in local rice and sugar production, Africa’s largest economy has boosted the prospects of a swifter economic diversification. The GES specifically seeks to provide a series of incentives to encourage the critical actors in the fertilizer value chain to work together to improve productivity, household food security and income of the farmer. It also provides agricultural inputs at affordable prices in order to increase the productivity of farmers across the nation.
About $178 million spent by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the GES helped Nigerian farmers to increase their rice output by over 2.8 million MT of rice paddies thus bringing the nation of 170 million people nearer to self-sufficiency, an achievement highlighted by President Jonathan in his declaration speech yesterday.
Other elements of the ATA includes the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NISRAL), aimed at reducing the risk in lending to the agricultural sector and the Staple Crops Processing Zones which will see the setting up of processing plants in zones of high food production in order to process commodities into food products. [SOURCE: VENTURES-AFRICA]