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The study was conducted to determine farmers‟ participation in Growth Enhancement Support scheme (GESS) programme in Kaduna State. The output and income of participants and those who did not participate in the GESS programme were also compared. A multi-stage sampling method was employed to select 180 respondents. Primary data were collected through the use of questionnaires and interview schedule and were subjected to both descriptive and inferential statistics. The main source of agricultural information was radio. Regression analysis showed that level of age, extension contact, yield and income status were significantly related with level of participation. The mean output of GESS participants (2550kg) was significantly higher than non-GESS participants (857kg). The difference in the mean output levels was largely attributed to participation in GESS programme. Calculated Z-statistic value (246.02) for income was significant at 5%. A major challenge reported by the farmers and agro dealers, and corroborated by the State GESS coordinators, is the timing of input delivery. It is imperative that inputs are delivered to agro dealers before the planting season commences, usually around March/April. To achieve this, preparations required to ensure these dates are met should be made well ahead of time.
Farmers were generally able to purchase the required types of fertilizer, as it appears NPK and Urea is the main types of fertilizer in demand across the states surveyed. However, there were complaints from some farmers that the types of fertilizer supplied were not right for the local soil types. Consideration of the local soil types and crops grown should be made in determining the type fertilizer supplied for each. Also the current two 50kg bags of fertilizer available to farmers under the scheme were found to be inadequate to meet the needs of farmers, even the smallholders. Considerations should be made to increase the number of bags available under the scheme.
To sustain this laudable effort of government, the planning of food production should be a conscious collaboration among several groups, namely state government, private enterprises, training and research institutions and, non-governmental organization. The findings concluded that the difference in the mean income could be attributed to their participation in GESS programme. Therefore continuity of the scheme without misplacing its priority is paramount and recommended.
1.1 Background to the study
The Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where Nigeria belongs is the only developing region in
the world where hunger is worsening, not improving (Yusuf, 2004). The proportion of
hungry people in SSA has remained in the 33-35% range since 1970 (highest overall
prevalence in the world). The absolute numbers of hungry Africans have increased
substantially with population growth, with 88 million in 1970 and 200 million people
between 1999 and 2001 (Sarah, 2005). In Nigeria, two of every three Nigerians live
below one United States dollar per day and that poverty is concentrated in rural areas,
which is home to 70% of the nation‟s poor, most of them farmers (Edache, 2006). The
Nigerian Agricultural Sector has not fulfilled the expectations of farmers as most of them
are poorly fed and calorie intake is below the recommended level of 2440 kilo Calories
and 65 grains of protein per person per day (FAO,2001). Several schemes have been
initiated by successive Governments in Nigeria to bring about improvements in the food
supply of the country by attempting to increase food output. These schemes include
National Accelerated food Production Project (NAFPP, 1976), Operation Feed the Nation
(OFN, 1976-1979), Green Revolution (1979-1983), Back to land (1983-1983), River
Basin Development Authorities (RBDAS,1977 to date); credit scheme Nigerian
Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development (1980 to date) and Agricultural
Development Project (ADP, 1975 to date) among others. The primary goal in each case is
the attainment of self-sufficiency in food production, supply of raw materials to
industries as well as to increase the level of farmers‟ income and standard of living.
Tsado (2004) reported that most of these programmes failed to achieve the desired
objectives because they were top-down in design and implementation. As part of its
efforts to increase food production, the Federal Government Growth Enhancement
Support Scheme was conceived and implemented in 2012.The Growth Enhancement
Support Scheme (GESS) was designed as a component of the Agricultural
Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government (ATA). The ATA is the current
Government‟s response to the crisis that has riddled the agricultural sector in the past and
seeks to put agricultural growth at the centre of the Government‟s development objective
given its critical role for food security and economic diversification. The broad objective
of the GESS was to achieve food security for the nation at the macro level, and
increase household income for the farmers at the micro level. The scheme was designed
to encourage the stakeholders in the fertilizer value chain to work together to improve
productivity, household food security and raise the income of farmers by providing
direct subsidy through the supply of discounted fertilizers and seeds. GESS was
developed as a poverty reduction strategy designed to sustainably increase the incomes of
the participant through subsidizing the cost of major agricultural inputs like fertilizers and
seedlings (FEPSAN, 2014).
1.2 Problem Statement
Agricultural policy in Nigeria has witnessed several changes since the colonial and post
independence years (Yusuf, 2004). Agricultural policies and programmes were usually
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