About 987 out of the 110, 000 small holder farmers who registered under the Growth Empowerment Support (GES) Touch and Pay pilot scheme in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were prevented from getting farm inputs.
The agricultural inputs, which include fertilisers, seeds and urea, were distributed to farmers via the GES-TAP technology facilitated by the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) in conjunction with Consult Hyperion.
Zonal Coordinator of IFDC in AMAC/Bwari Area Council, Ms. Patience Adamade, stated that the 987 farmers were denied access due to complicities in their registration records.
She explained that some of the farmers might have registered more than once, which would automatically prevent the database from reflecting their identities.
Adamade however said efforts would be made to rectify the problem.
"The farmers receiving inputs here today were registered during the enumeration window and about 110, 000 of them were captured. Any farmer with a TAP card is eligible to redeem inputs from any of the centres where he is mapped based on his or her ward. Each farmer is entitled to a 50kg bag of NPK, 50kg bag of urea and either maize or rice.
“The GES/TAP issues cards to registered farmers during the enumeration phase, and computer tablets were given to agro-dealers prior the redemption exercise to facilitate the process. We are not particular about you having a farmland. It is open to anybody who wishes to start farming," she said.
According Adamade, about 75 per cent of registered farmers had redeemed their inputs while those that were yet to claim theirs had been contacted by the centre.
“For the various wards mapped to a redemption centre, our system tells us the percentage of farmers that have redeemed their inputs in each of them. So for wards that have not redeemed a good percentage, we have what we call mobile redemption. We move our redemption centres to those wards to enable them come out if proximity to the centres is a challenge," she added.
Representative of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FCT Office, Mr. Maiyaki Madaki, said the new GES/TAP technology was an improved method of distributing inputs to farmers.
“The GES is a programme of the federal government and the states, the idea is to enable the farmers redeem their inputs. This year the GES/TAP was introduced, and unlike the former system, GES/TAP can operate in places where there is no mobile network.
"The former system couldn’t work in areas that don’t have network, but with this scheme you can identify the farmers easily and get their inputs across to them,” Madaki said.
Meanwhile, Farmers at the Tungamaji redemption centre, in Gwagwalada Area Council have appealed to the federal government to increase the quantity inputs made available to them under the scheme.
The Sarkin Noma (Chief of farmers) of Tungamaje, Alhaji Salihu Na’anabi, who spoke through an interpreter, explained that there was tremendous improvement since in the input redemption system with GES-TAP technology, thereby appealed that more inputs be provided.
"We want each registered farmer to get two bags of fertiliser, because one is not enough. We are appealing to the government to supply more so we can pay for more than two bags, we are the ones feeding the population, large scale farmers only deal with food factories," he said.
Adding that, that system of registration of farmers and redemption of farm inputs under the GES-TAP as being implemented by IFDC and Consult Hyperion is better, compared to the GES that we use to know in terms of fertiliser and seed distribution.
"As chief of farmers in Tungamaje, I have collected my farm inputs without stress. We can see transparency in the redemption process and it is well coordinated."
He also appealed to IFDC to recruit more man power so as to ensure effective and speedy discharge of their duties.
“We want to appeal to IFDC to send more registration officers to the field for this exercise, in term of registration and redemption because we have a large population of farmers here in Tungamaji as most of the people living here are farmers. We want them to meet the challenges of registration," he stated.