Nigeria’s success story with the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) in the Agricultural Sector has been lauded by agricultural experts from Tanzania, expressing the willingness to understudy the scheme so as to replicate it in their country.
Members of the Team of Experts, Damian Gabagambi and Chaboba Nkangwa, who arrived Abuja on Wednesday November 27, 2013 on a visit to the Agriculture Ministry informed the Permanent Secretary as well as the Director of Fertilizer, Akinbolawa Osho and others that the Tanzanian Central Government has sent them to understudy the operational modalities of the GES.
The experts averred that they are to understudy the Permanent Secretary and his Directors as well as the heads of the operational institutions under which the GES has made progress. Also, the evolution of the scheme, the successes so far and the challenges which are currently being addressed in order to move the sector to a new level in 2014 are to be measured.
Akinbolawa Osho told the visitors that GES is primarily targeted at small holder farmers while plans have been put in place to engage multinational farmers as in the special GES in 2014.
The Permanent Secretary in his remarks noted that a majority of the citizens are impressed with the progress made under GES; adding that the National Assembly has promised to support it through a legislation to institutionalise the different components of the programme for sustainability beyond the present administration. The Directors and Heads of the component units in their turns explained to the visitors the operations of GES towards achieving its feats.
The leader of the visiting team, who is a Senior Lecturer in the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania observed that the Nigerian Agricultural Policy has been a subject of discussions at continental fora; hinting that other countries in Africa will be coming to understudy and duplicate it too.
Damian Gabagambi inferred that Tanzania like Nigeria’s Agricultural practice before 2012 was dominated by a prevalence of elite culture. He also noted that in Tanzania, middlemen and political farmers are billionaires; whereas the actual farmers who labour to feed the country get poorer by the day. He further expressed confidence that their study trip to Nigeria would as in Nigeria help to dislodge the pseudo-farmers and input the vendors from their system as it is the case in Nigeria.
He recalled that Nigeria’s Growth Enhancement Scheme which is just two years old has captured 1.7 million farmers in 2012 and almost 10 million farmers so far in 2013. “The dis-lodgement of fertilizer and seed vendors/hawkers who have been laying siege to farming inputs has meant well for the real farmers. The programme has been praised and exemplified in most African and Asian countries,” he emphasized.
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