IN its drive to achieve food security, the Federal Government has announced plans to raise in three years, no fewer than 20 million registered farmers participating in its newly launched Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES).
Flagging off the scheme at the weekend in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Development, Dr. Ezekiel Oyemomi, said five million small holder farmers are expected to be raised yearly, while at the moment, about 4.3 million farmers have been identified and registered.
In his speech read by the Regional Director of the ministry, Dr. Uche Nwafor, Oyemomi disclosed that fertilizers to be supplied to farmers will be subsidized by the Federal Government and state governments at 50 per cent (25 per cent each), while the farmers will pay 50 per cent.
“The GES scheme targets five million small holder farmers annually with a target of 20 million farmers over three years. Presently, about 4.3 million farmers have been identified and registered on the national farmers’ data base,” he said.
He added that the GES was launched to correct the past systems inadequacies in inputs distribution and subsidy administration in the agricultural sector. He urged farmers who registered to visit redemption points to benefit, while those who are yet to register to do so as soon as possible.
In his speech, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, represented by his deputy, Mr. Jude Agbaso, disclosed that the state has concessioned Imo Palm Plantation, Ohaji and Avutu Modern Poultry, which he said are expected to create about 10,000 jobs in the state. He added that plans are afoot to concession Imo Rubber plantation.