• Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Agric minister looks to fintech to bypass handout fraud

The federal government has disclosed plans to adopt financial technology (fintech) solutions for all financial disbursements, to deliver directly to the targeted end users. This, the authorities said, will prevent corruption in the process.

Abubakar Kyari, the minister of agriculture and food security disclosed this during a press briefing in Abuja on Friday.

According to him, as part of the ministry’s medium-term plan, priority will be given to the use of digital and decentralised finance (DEFI) solutions to reform the Bank of Agriculture and Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation among others.

This is coming on the heels of corrupt practices alleged by farmers, especially at the grassroots, in the disbursement of palliatives and intervention programmes.

The minister listed the mandates of his administration to include: food security; economic growth and job creation; poverty eradication; inclusivity and an enabling environment for individuals and the private sector.

“Going forward, all programs and initiatives of the ministry shall be completely aligned to attaining these four presidential priorities. In doing so, we are currently reviewing existing projects to ensure due diligence in achieving this alignment.

Read also: Gov Otti flags off training of 50,000 farmers on agric development

“Malnutrition and the rates of food inflation require that we work all year round to ensure increased food production while putting in place measures to make food available, accessible, affordable and of the right nutrition on a sustainable basis,” he said.

Speaking on the immediate priority actions to be taken by the Ministry, Kyari said that efforts were ongoing in preparation for the next dry season farming beginning in November 2023.

Among other preparatory programs include certification of available planting materials for some food crops in readiness for the dry season, and implementation of dry season wheat production with a target to produce an expected yield of 875,000 metric tonnes.

On the short-term priority action (2023-2024), Kyari hinted at moves to reform the National Agricultural Research System to serve as the engine of growth for innovative agriculture solutions.

He also disclosed plans to establish two national gene Bank facilities, for crops and animals to conserve genetic resources for food security.

“In the medium term (2024-2026), we will develop a digital/ICT mobile-based agro-industry system and e-extension platform to support farmers through the establishment of national centres in the 6 agro-ecological zones of Nigeria.

“In the long term, we plan to develop a national Agricultural database for planning and implementation of agriculture and food security programs and initiatives.”

In his remarks, Aliyu Abdullahi, minister of State for agriculture and food security, affirmed the commitment of the Tinubu-led administration to achieving food security, while attracting investment into the agriculture sector.