The Federal Government is under studying the Fertiliser Voucher Scheme to assess its viability for efficient service delivery to farmers across the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Prof Ahmad Abdallah, disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He noted that fertiliser procurement, delivery, distribution and subsidy to farmers had for long constituted a major challenge.
He said that if the scheme succeeded, the government would embrace and popularize it as a way to deliver the commodity to farmers. He noted that with the scheme, the idea of diversion would be overcome.
“The idea of hijacking and adulteration of fertiliser will be limited and it will have the effect of energizing the private sector,’’ he added. The minister noted regrettably that most farmers did not enjoy the 25 per cent fertiliser subsidy.
According to him, the voucher scheme will strengthen linkages between farmers and agro-input dealers in the rural areas. It will facilitate government’s withdrawal from direct fertiliser procurement and distribution, he said.
Meanwhile, the minister said that a machinery had been put in place to improve upon monitoring and evaluation of delivery processes, to check diversion and the quality of the commodity being delivered.
Fertilizer Voucher Scheme was introduced by the International Centre for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development (IFDC) in 2009.
It was successfully implemented in Kano and Taraba States in 2009 with 100,000 beneficiaries. More than 550,000 beneficiaries are being targeted in Bauchi, Kaduna, Kwara, Kano and Taraba states in 2010.