The Nigerian federal government has informed that it lost more than N776 billion to corruption, which is an average of N26 billion annually, in the seed and fertilizer sector between 1980 and 2010. Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, country’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said at a four-day public affairs forum that more than N873 billion ($5.4 billion) was spent on fertilizer subsidies, of which less than 11 percent of farmers received the inputs. Mr. Adesina commented that “the system displaced the private sector while Nigerian farmers lost their dignity.”
The minister added that the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), which started using a three-stage approach of treating agriculture as a business rather than as a social or developmental issue, applied the value chain approach of adding value to everything produced in the country. This, in his opinion, ensured a paradigm shift to agriculture, which is the driver of economic growth.
Dr. Adesina also stressed that the administration of the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan changed the lives of farmers by putting an end to the 40-year-long corruption in the seed and fertilizer sector within 90 days through the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES). GES is one of a number of critical components under ATA, which was designed to provide affordable agricultural inputs to farmers, which include mainly fertilizers and hybrid seeds. The main objective of the scheme is to help farmers increase their yields per hectare and make them competitive and comparable to world standards.
GES had supported about 14 million farmers out of which about 75 percent were in the north of the country. As a result, fertilizer producers and retailers could benefit from almost 500 percent boost in credit from financial institutions from US$22 million to US$125 million in 2012-2013, and US$5 billion investments in commitments in the fertilizer sector. Among other achievements are also the mechanization of farming in 10 states and viable loan facilities that help farmers to get finance. A special focus is moreover put on the empowerment of women who earn living as farmers.