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February 23, 2024
AgroNigeria
News

Nigerian Farmers’ Database Corrupt, Politicised – Agric Minister 

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, has revealed that the database of farmers benefiting from agricultural intervention programmes of the federal government is “corrupt” and “politicised.”

The minister made this known on Monday when he appeared before a joint committee of the National Assembly on Agriculture to defend his ministry’s budget for the 2024 fiscal year, where he explained that the existing farmers’ database consisted of names of politicians who are not even farmers.

The Nigerian agricultural sector, he said, will continue to face challenges unless the farmers’ database is reviewed and equipped with the right people to benefit from the intervention programmes.

“Our main problem today is the clean data of farmers. Unless our team will have that, we can never get it right.

“Today, even in some of the programmes that we have, I found one of our political bosses who has never been a farmer, he has never farmed in his life. He received a text message that he should go and redeem his fertiliser from an agro dealer and he called me and said do you put my name in the palliative?

“It is not even palliative. I said I don’t even know your full name. I don’t know you as Bagura; I only know you as Bagura.”

“So, he sent me a copy of the text message. That is to tell you how corrupt that database is,” Mr Kyari said.

The minister then assured that the federal government will collaborate with the national and state assemblies to review the farmer’s database.

His words: “I would like to say here that we need to work together with the state and also with honourable members of the National Assembly and the state assemblies to make sure and come up with clean data of farmers.

“Let us move away from doing that for properties, let us do it for our plants so that we can have a map. It will take a while but let us start from somewhere. Without doing that, we will never get our input, the right person and at the right time and this is what we have been trying to do.”

It should be recalled that In June 2021, the federal government created a database for farmers to monitor and evaluate the performances of farmers who are beneficiaries of the Agricultural Sector for Food and Jobs Program (AFJP), one of the programmes of the ministry.

In April 2022, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, the then minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, announced the decision of the government to give interest-free loans to 98,000 farmers and traders under its restructured Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), known as GEEP 2.0.

Mr Kyari, while addressing members of the joint agriculture committees, added that the federal government has concluded plans to transform into smart agriculture.

“Very soon we are going to launch the technology-driven agriculture smart processes. We have discussed with them and we received an invitation just last week that we will work on it next week on that issue.

“We are trying to see how we can bring it in because that is also part of the reason you find that our youth have abandoned agriculture.

“Agriculture, if properly done, is a source of wealth. As representatives of the people, it is important we relay the message to our people that nothing is as viable as agriculture and can sustain Nigeria as we have today.

We are looking at digital platforms. We are trying to see how we can develop platforms using our digital space for the GPRS service system. We are collaborating with various MDAs to see how we can develop agriculture business.”

While lamenting on the food insecurity of the country, Kyari complained that despite not meeting local needs, soya beans are being exported to foreign countries in large quantities.

“Soya beans, for instance, are being wiped out from our system. Today, soya beans are worth N430,000 as at last week, that is what we use for our poultry feed.

“It is being exported in large quantities. We are trying to see how we can involve security agencies.

“Trying to safeguard our food security is very important and it is very key. We have already notified our security agencies.”

The Chairman of the Joint National Assembly Committee on Agriculture, Saliu Mustapha, commended President Bola Tinubu for identifying agricultural development as one of the parameters of the 2024 budget.

Mr Mustapha, the senator representing Kwara Central, assured that the joint committee will treat the budget of the agricultural sector with utmost commitment.

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