GES: Farmers without phone number will not be captured —Cellulant

• Agro dealers pledge support for government

As the Federal Government is preparing to rollout the Growth Enhancement Support (GES), scheme, farmers have been advised to get their own phone numbers in order to be captured in the scheme.

This is just as the Growth Enhancement Scheme Agrodealers Association of Nigeria said they will help the government in order to make GES work well this year.

During the Agro Dealers training in Abuja, the Representative of Cellulant, Gbenga Patrick said in the past, farmers who doesn’t have phone numbers uses the phone number of their village head, but the culture will not be applicable this year.

Cellulant is a company responsible for registering farmers in Nigeria and coordinates the distribution of subsidised farm inputs to farmers through sending out messages to farmers and inform them on how to access the subsidised farm inputs.

He further said that farmers can use one mobile phone for several phone numbers by. He explained that when they go for capturing, they can just insert their Sim cards in that mobile phone one after the other so that they can be captured.

According to him “We noticed some different challenges that came up in the last GES and we are trying our best to make sure that this problem don’t come up again.

“GES will be different this year, unlike how it was in 2014 because we discovered that during farmers’ registration in one of the states then, about 500,000 farmers registered, out of which only 100,000 farmers had phones. Some of them were using their village head’s phone number.

“But we later discovered that there were 550,000 farmers and all of them had unique phone numbers. This made us resolve alongside the government that in subsequent GES, there will be no more offline registration.”

He, therefore said “every farmer must have a phone number. If a farmer does not have a mobile phone, then 10 farmers can use one phone. But they must have different Sim cards.

“In the redemption centres, we are going to make available to every agro dealer two systems, one is Patra tablet, the other is Point of Service (PoS) machine.

“Tablet is going to do verification and validation of the farmers which will be handled by the Ministry of Agriculture representative while the PoS will be handled by the Agro Dealer representative.

Mr Patrick further said that in this year’s GES, Micro Finance Banks will be at every redemption centres so that farmers can make direct payment for inputs to the Agro Dealers instantly.

His words: “this year’s GES will involve Micro finance Banks, so that if the farmers come to redemption centres, the bank will be there with PoS in case if the farmers have their ATM cards and want to use it for redemption, he can use the PoS and the Micro Finance Bank transfers it immediately to the Agro Dealer.

In the same vein, the National Chairman of Growth Enhancement Scheme Agrodealers Association of Nigeria (GESAAN), Kabiru Fara pledged the support of the association to ensure that GES works well.

“In the next two weeks we will agree on how GES will work this year. We are in a good position to assist the Federal Government to help the farmers so that the inputs to the farmers is at a reduced cost,” he noted.