From CHARITY Uwakwe, Abia
The CEO of Luganz Venture Limited, a Fertilizer blending Company, in Abia Aba, has insisted on the immediate reversion of Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) program, saying it gave farmers direct subsidy to purchase fertilizer.
Speaking to Monday Horn in an exclusive interview, weekend, in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia, Sir Lucky Uzoanya Godswill Ononaiwu blamed the drastic fall in the fertilizer blending and distribution in the country on the federal government and called for a revert of President Goodluck Jonathan’s GESS program.
Sir Nwanoniwu who is also the President Abia State co-operative Federation regretted that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had order than accelerating the system, brought about a deterioration in agricultural fertilizer blending and distribution through some policy changes.
“The Federal Government, I hope they get to hear this, Federal Government is responsible for the problem that we are having in fertilizer blending and distribution. For us, the Federal Government have crippled most of the blending facilities that are in the country because of their change in the policies”
According to him, Jonathan’s GESS program is the best way to make subsidized fertilizers from the government reach farmers, as he maintained that the said program provided them with a data base for all the farmers in Nigeria.
“For us, the Federal Government have crippled most of the blending facilities that are in the country because of their change in the policies. Federal Government should immediately revert to GES program. First it gives the farmers directly, farmers are allowed to carry two bags maybe they should increase it to four bags so that each farmer gets four bags. Secondly, it gives us a data base for all the farmers in Nigeria. The farmers, the crops they are growing, their location it all contents as part of the GES program I don’t know how the ministry of Agriculture can run without data”.
“There agric policies are never stable, today they are here, tomorrow they are another place. In the time of Goodluck Jonathan, they had what is called GESS program, a fantastic program that the government floated at the time which gave farmers direct subsidy to purchase fertilizers and fertilizers are very affordable for them.
“In addition in making fertilizer affordable for farmers, the GES program had the capacity to collect and record the number produced a data bank for whole country so that at a glance you would know the number of farmers in each local government , State and the total farmer in Nigeria, it would enable us to know the quantity of fertilizer those farmers would need and plan ahead of them but they just destroyed it and said they had another program altogether procured the ingredients on blending fertilizer and then gave it to selected companies, their own selected companies and sold it at the rate is five thousand five hundred(N5,500) and making it impossible for small blenders like us to blend because in their own wisdom that we can not blend”, he wailed.
On the issuance of N2.5bn to South East farmers by the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), the renowned farmer urged cooperative societies in the region to ensure that the ensure that they attain the stipulated standard of BOA, ranging having functional members, objectives and viable products, as he used the medium to advise Nigerians to embrace farming, describing it as a productive business.
Sir Lucky Uzoanya Godswill Ononaiwu,
President Abia State co-operative Federation