The programme, which uses e-wallet technology to allot government subsidies, fertilisers, improved seeds, agrochemicals and good farming practices to Nigerian farmers, has been the flagship programme of the ministry in the last four years.
The programme is said to have served an average of six million farmers annually.
“Nigeria is the first country in the world to implement the e-wallet technology. Others include Togo and Liberia. It will soon be extended to 13 other sub-Saharan African countries and the Middle East,” a statement from the ministry said.
It also stated, “The programme has far been internationally recognised as a successfully implemented e-wallet platform.
“Prior to the extension of the agreement, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari requested for certain improvements to the technology so that it can continue to serve Nigerian farmers better. The upgraded technology was field-tested with a pool of 500,000 farmers who grew 1.3 million metric tonnes of rice and maize from May through September 2016.
“The approval of the President for the continuation of the programme and the retention of Cellulant, the technology provider, has proved that it’s possible for a project that positively impacted on people lives to be passed from one administration to another.”
The statement added, “The Nigerian government is commencing an all-round farming year using the e-wallet system from November 2016 till May 2017. The programme aims to reach between five million and nine million farmers with good quality seeds, fertilisers, and pesticides. The government and the farmers will contribute to the costs of the farming inputs as part of this subsidy scheme.
“It is important to note that the GES scheme is actually an economic impetus programme as the e-wallet system is a mechanism that propels economic activities into rural areas.”