The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said that the electronic wallet system (e-wallet) has recorded the name and location of at least 14 million Nigerian farmers.
Adesina make this known recently at a launch of Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) and the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria in Abuja.
Recall that the e-wallet system was deployed by the Agricultural and Rural Development ministry in a bid to provide farmers with subsidized farm inputs using the mobile phone technology.
Adesina said: “Today, our e wallet system has reached 14 million farmers, and we have their names and locations. Nigeria is the first in the world to develop and use e-wallet to deliver farm input at scale and several African countries are learning from us. The agriculture sector has changed, Nigeria is now export transparency.”
According to him, the country’s food production had improved following the launch of e-wallet system. “As a nation, we have produced an additional 21 million MT of food within the last 3 years. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, food imports declined from N 1.1 trillion ($ 6.7 billion) in 2009 to N 684 billion ($4.35 billion) in 2013 and continues to decline.”
He also informed that Nigeria was able to achieve improvement in the agriculture sector due to increased local food production and reduction in food importation, especially at a time of falling oil prices and devaluation.
“Agriculture is now an exciting sector. Today major local and international investors are investing in this new agriculture sector, with $5.6 billion in investments. The number of seed companies alone has risen from 5 to 80 within three years. And the banks are lending to the sector more than ever before,” the minister said.
He added that, “YEAP will develop a new cadre of 740,000 market-oriented young agricultural producers in rural areas. These will be school leavers and rural youth leaders and there will be 20,000 of them per state of the federation.”
Adesina said: “YEAP will also develop 18, 500 university graduates who will be formed into young agribusiness entrepreneurs called “nagropreneurs”. They will develop businesses along the entire agricultural value chains, from the farm, storage, processing and value addition, financial services and logistics.”
The minister also assured that government would support the youth in accessing technical, entrepreneurial, finance, business and marketing skills, including land and link to major agribusinesses.