Minister-of-Agriculture-Akinwumi-AdesinaMinister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has disclosed that Nigeria spends about 60 per cent of its total crude oil revenue on food importation.

Speaking at a public hearing on agriculture related bills pending before the  House of Representatives, organised by the House Committee on Agriculture on Tuesday evening in Abuja, Adesina said only 11 per cent of farmers were benefiting from farm inputs in the past, despite the huge amount expended by the federal government.

While explaining the achievement of  the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme within one year of its implementation, Adesina said  the population of farmers, who benefited from subsidised fertilisers from the government had increased from 11 per cent to 61 per cent.

The minister also said about N16 billion was spent on fertiliser distribution last year; out this amount, the farmers contributed N7.5 billion, the state governments N3.8 billion, while the federal government paid N5.2 billion directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the agro-dealers.

“I don’t award fertiliser contract from the ministry and I will not. We saved N25 billion last year, 1.5 million farmers benefited and produced 8.1 metric tonnes of food, which is 70 per cent higher than before,” he said.

Adesina explained that there was a major failure in the fertiliser and improved seeds distribution policy in the past, as only 11 per cent of Nigerian farmers benefited from the gesture.

However, House Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, at the opening of the public hearing, commended the minister over the improvement in the fertiliser distribution system.

Tambuwal  who was represented by the Deputy House Leader, Hon. Leonard  Ogor,  noted that the Growth Empowerment Strategy (GES) scheme adopted by the minister was perhaps his major achievement in office.

“Let me also use this opportunity to say that the House appreciates the level of improvement in the distribution of fertiliser to farmers, which is one good achievement of the Ministry of Agriculture, compared to previous distribution system,” Tambuwal said.


Information from This Day was used in this report.