FG urged to revive GESS program of Goodluck Jonathan
The Federal Government has been urged to revive the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) of ex president, Goodluck Jonathan.
The GESS program which was initiated under the former president,Goodluck Jonathan was targeted to give farmers fertilizers and other farm inputs as well as pest control at Federal government subsidized rate.
During this program, Agriculture went to another level as farmers were treated with utmost care with alot of incentives and encouragements coming their way through the program. The program afforded the Federal government the benefit of having the total number of farmers in each Local Government Area of the federation, their farm location and size,as well as the crop they grow.
In this period, farmers’ data base grew from 30% to over 80%, as more people entered into Agriculture because of the encouragements given to farmers.
Reacting on this issue, an Agro dealer and president of Abia State Cooperative Federation, Sir Lucky Nwaononiwu in an interaction with our Reporter, said the era where farmers enjoy farm inputs at almost a free cost was gone,calling on the FG to reverse the GESS program to what it used to be.
According to Nwaononiwu, the government of President Muhammed Buhari, removed the subsidy given to Agro dealers at which they provide fertilizers for farmers at #2750, giving the subsidy to fertilizer blending companies who now sell fertilizers to Agro dealers at #5500 per bag, while the farmers now get a bag above #5500.
Recounting the dangers the new policy of the president has done, Sir Nwaononiwu said it has not only thrown Agro dealers across the federation out of business, but has helped in dropping the data base of farmers, making it difficult to give the actual number of farmers in a locality, thereby causing difficulty in planning for them.
He also disclosed that farmers nolonger buy fertilizers and other farm inputs because of the current price, thereby reducing their level of production, adding that farmers nolonger get improved seedlings both in grains,maize among others.
Sir Nwaononiwu further advised that the GESS program be resuscitated, if Agriculture must be taken seriously, since it affects the farmers positively.