Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina, said on Monday that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, through its Agriculture Transformation Agenda (AGA), ended four-decade old corruption in the agricultural sector
Adesina disclosed this on the third day of the Public Affairs Forum organised by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs in Abuja. The minister said the transformation in the sector has witnessed a monumental change in the way and manner agriculture and its related activities are handled.
“We ended 40 years of corruption in the fertilizer sector. The old system of government direct procurement and distribution of fertilizer was corrupt. Nearly 90 per cent of farmers never received subsidised fertilisers.”
Between 1980 and 2010, over N873 billion ($5.4b) was spent on fertilizer subsidies.
“No more than 11 per cent of farmers received these fertilisers. Over N776 billion ($4.8b) was estimated to have been lost to corruption or an average of N26 billion ($162.5 million) annually. The system displaced the private sector”, he stated.
He said the ministry under the current arrangement has built a national database of 10.5 million farmers, which has increased the participation in every state of the federation, just as the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) programme has increased farmers getting fertilisers from 11 per cent before the programme to 92 per cent.
He pointed out that 1.3 million metric tons of fertiliser has been delivered to farmers. Equally, he said 55,000 metric tons of improved seeds have been delivered to farmers, pointing out that Nigeria is the first country in Africa to deliver inputs to farmers at scale through e-wallet.
The minister also said the country boasts of cassava both in quality and quantity, a reason he decided to embark on the cassava transformation initiative, which has led to the introduction of 20 per cent cassava bread, which he said has led to the establishment of 30 bakeries across the country.