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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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