President Jonathan ended 40 years of corruption in Agric sector — Adesina

By The Citizen

President Goodluck Jonathan through its Agriculture Transformation Agenda, has ended four decades' corruption in the agricultural sector, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina has said.

The minister made this known on Monday while presented his ministry's scorecard at a forum organised by the Presidency and concluded that the administration, adding that over N776 billion was estimated to have been lost to corruption in the sector during the period.

Speaking on the third day of the forum organised by the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, in Abuja, he said the transformation in the sector had witnessed a monumental change in the way and manner agriculture and its related activities were handled.

'We ended 40 years of corruption in the fertilizer sector. The old system of government's direct procurement and distribution of fertilizer was corrupt. Nearly 90 per cent of farmers never received subsidized fertilizers.

'Between 1980 and 2010, over N873 billion ($5.4 billion) was spent on fertilizer subsidies. No more than 11 per cent of farmers received these fertilizers.

'Over N776 billion ($4.8 billion) was estimated to have been lost to corruption or an average of N26 billion ($162.5 billion) annually. The system displaced the private sector,' he stated.

Adesina noted that the ministry of agriculture under the current arrangement has built a national database of 10.5 million farmers, which has increased the participation in every state of the federation.

'The Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GES) programme of government has increased the number of farmers who got fertilizers from 11 per cent before the programme to 92 per cent.Out that 1.3 Million metric tons of fertilizer had been delivered to farmers just as 55,000 metric tons of improved seeds have been delivered to farmers. Nigeria is the first country in Africa to deliver inputs to farmers at scale through e-wallet.

'The country now boasts of cassava both in quality and quantity, which necessitated the introduction of the cassava transformation initiative, which has led to the introduction of 20 per cent cassava bread and the establishment of 30 bakeries across the country.

'The ministry, with support from Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture has unleashed a rice revolution to become self-sufficient in rice, which has led to the production of million metric tonnes of the commodity,' he stated.