Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Gross Enhancement Support Scheme Agricultural Association of Nigeria (GESSAN) has applauded the federal ministry of agriculture for its prompt effort in paying part of the monies owed by the federal government to resource constrained farmers.
GESSAN said recently in Abuja that the arrears of bills owed it ran into N61 billion under the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. It noted that out of this amount the incumbent administration has paid it N20 billion.
It poured encomium on the government for discharging its responsibility effectively to the farmers to improve their productivity; ensure food security; and their income.
The association also appealed to the government to disregard criticism purportedly sponsored by one of its members in which government was castigated.
The National Chairman of GESSAN, Alhaji Kabiru Umar Fara, told reporters in Abuja that the issues raised by one of its members in a newspaper report were against the association’s professional ethics, adding: “The allegations are untrue, unfounded and immature.”
Fara explained that the embattled member who made the allegation had done something similar in the past and tried to tarnish the image of the past government as well.
He asked the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh to institute a legal action against the embattled member. He also thanked the minister for making a case for the association to get paid its outstanding money, and urged the federal government to give premium attention to food security in the country, in the same way it is waging war against insecurity across the country.
GESSAN also called on the government to scale up the distribution of fertiliser, which it said its price has since gone up to about N9,000 per bag because of alleged unpatriotic practices of some local producers.
“Government should look into the activities of these producers as some of them are not patriotic enough in protecting the interest of Nigerian farmers,” Fara said.
He lamented that the action of the producers was affecting farmers’ productivity, adding: “For instance, of the 700,000 metric tonnes of urea needed by farmers this year, it is less likely that they have the capacity to meet the demand.”