Dr Ezekiel Oyemomu, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has said that the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) Scheme will eradicate poverty in the country.
Oyemomu made the statement in Uyo on Friday at the inauguration of the GES programme and distribution of seeds and fertilisers to farmers in Akwa Ibom.
“The scheme is expected to bring about increase in productivity and household income thereby reducing poverty in our rural communities where majority of the resource-constrained farmers reside.
“The flag-off marks the beginning of the distribution of seeds and fertilisers throughout the redemption points in the state for the next six weeks, “ Oyemomu said.
He advised farmers who had registered to visit the redemption point nearest to them for their inputs while those yet to register were advised to do so.
The permanent secretary added that the GES scheme was initiated by the Federal Government to address the challenges of the past system of inputs distribution and subsidy administration in the agricultural sector.
According to him, these system has been inefficient.
He disclosed that under the GES scheme, 4.3 million farmers had been registered in the national farmers’ data base, adding that, 20 million farmers were expected to register over the next three years.
The permanent secretary that fertilisers supplied to farmers were subsidised by 50 per cent by Federal Government, adding that State Governments contributed 25 per cent while farmers paid the remaining 25 per cent.
In his speech, Gov. Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, said that agriculture was of interest and critical to the industrialisation policy of government.
Akpabio, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Nsima Ekere, said the State Government had strengthened the sector to be one of the engines to drive the industrialisation of the state.
He said: “ Our vision is to transform agriculture in the state from its present small, subsistence and production- driven level to a sustainable, competitive, market-driven, value-added and highly productive level."
The governor disclosed that apart from other agricultural programmes going on in the state, there was an accelerated livestock and fish production programme.
According to him the programme is designed to produce day-old chicks and fish fingerlings to boost investment in the poultry and fisheries sub-sector.
He assured that the State Government would participate fully in the GES programme and contribute its 25 per cent to complement Federal Government's effort in food production and poverty reduction in the country.
The high point of the event was the distribution of fertilisers, seeds and presentation of cheques to farmers in the state.