Nigeria to distribute 10 million mobile phones to small-holder farmers
07 September 2012
The Nigerian Federal Government plans to distribute 10 million mobile phones to small-holder farmers next year. The distribution scheme is being handled by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications Technology.
According to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina, mobile phones will carry features such as information on climatic conditions, market prices of farm products, extension workers and how the farmers can access agricultural funds.
He explained that this would be rolled into the second phase of the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme. The scheme is a Federal Government’s initiative, aimed at subsidising the cost of major agricultural inputs, such as fertiliser and seeds.
Under the initiative, the direct procurement and distribution of farm inputs to farmers is discontinued and supplies are expected to be done through an electronic distribution channel known as the e-wallet.
The conditions of the e-wallet scheme stipulate that a farmer, registered under the scheme, is expected to pay 50 per cent of the cost of farm inputs, while the federal and state governments would pay 25 per cent each.
Adesina said: "By that, the farmers can get information on planting seasons. We cannot do that by newspapers. We need to have something they can relate with in local languages."
The President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Dr Judith Rodin, recently led a delegation to Adesina's office. She explained that the need to provide food for the entire population of the country was about building peace and unity.
According to her, the Rockefeller Foundation is looking at how to support new innovations, ideas and applications in some sector of the country. She promised that the Foundation would assist government to boost productivity in the sector by focusing on the agriculture value chain.