Nigeria: e-Wallet apprehension grips farmers
The introduction of the e-wallet scheme, according to the firm in charge of it, has saved Nigeria billions of naira, but is the facility making things easy for farmers as the government promised? Weekly Trust reports.
A year has just gone by since the introduction of the electronic wallet (e-wallet), an initiative of the Federal Government to better the delivery of farm input such as fertilizers, seeds, and agrochemicals among others to farmers across the country.
The initiative is said to be one of the most effective ways of reaching real farmers with government subsidy and doing away with the so-called fertilizer cartel that has made it impossible for such benefits to be tapped into by the real or let’s say grassroots farmers.
During the distribution of the input last year, many registered farmers, distributers and other stakeholders like the North Central Agro Input Dealers Association (NOCAIDA) acclaimed the initiative as a breakthrough compared to the previous ways of fertilizer distribution.
Now the rains are almost here, and of course many a farmer would be up at night thinking of how to access especially fertilizer and other input to better their crop yields and may be wondering if they can still count on the Federal Government to deliver on the e-wallet or voucher system once again.
A farmer in Lasale, Gombe State, Mr. Simon said farmers in his area are still banking on the e-wallet system, because it has really helped many of them.
He said “the former system that they used is very good and we are still hoping that they will still use it so that we can get fertilizer.”
Mrs. Hannatu Soni, a farmer in Saminaka area of Lere Local Government in Kaduna State once lamented the inability of many farmers in her locality to get government subsidized fertilizer subsidy, because they were not captured in the last farmer’s registration whose data was used to allocate fertilizers and seeds to the farmers depending on the crop they are planting.
She said the initiative under the Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the government is good, because it was actually able to target the farmers but many of them were left out of it, because the officials who conducted the registration missed them.
She, however, said farmers are still looking out to benefit more from the initiative and advised that the registration should be extended to all farmers and the number of bags per farmer, especially more female farmers should be given.
There were mixed reactions amongst large and small scale farmers over the distribution this farming season.