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In Sokoto,it’s a new way of managing agric subsidy

The Touch And Pay The TAP scheme which is noted to use latest tablet and smart card technology, with built-in fraud prevention and detection systems,…

The Touch And Pay
The TAP scheme which is noted to use latest tablet and smart card technology, with built-in fraud prevention and detection systems, is being utilised for the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) programme.
It was introduced as a pilot scheme in Sokoto and the FCT following the problem of inconsistent mobile coverage experienced in the e-wallet system used for GES, a scheme through which farmers and agricultural dealers accessed agricultural subsidies to drive production and growth of the nation’s agriculture sector.
The GES-TAP concept works without network and mobile phones.
According to the Country Director,International Fertilizer Development Centre, IFDC Scott Wallace, the GES-TAP has registered over 500,000 for the current farming season in Sokoto and the FCT.
About 75 percent of the 500,000 farmers registered are for Sokoto.
UK ‘s Department For International Development, DFID earmarked the sum of 950,000 pounds sterling for the implementation of GES-TAP pilot project in Sokoto and Federal Capital Territory from January to August this year while IFDC is implementing it,he revealed.
Mr Wallace stated:“The GES-TAP system was designed to solve the problems witnessed in the e-wallet system, whereby many farmers don’t have mobile phones and reside in remote areas where there is no network service.”

He explained that TAP,which is an e-voucher scheme,uses latest mobile technology to connect online and offline farmers to their local agricultural dealers,enabling farmers in remote regions where there is no network coverage to have access to GES fertiliser discount scheme.
“The turnout was amazing. In seven weeks over 390,000 farmers were registered in Sokoto,” Wallace enthused over the scheme. For him,they are committed to ensuring that subsidised fertiliser and other inputs reach small-scale farmers thereby curbing fraud and the nefarious activities of middlemen.
The Sokoto State Coordinator, GES-TAP, Mr. Nosa Osunde, said though TAP is currently only active in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory and Sokoto State, the initiative is already changing the agricultural landscape.
“Using a more secure, efficient and reliable process,TAP is directly supporting Nigerian farmers and boosting the local economy.
He said each registered farmer receives two bags of fertiliser and Ikg of agrolyser at 50 percent subsidy as well as 12.5 kg bag of rice seed or 10kg of maize seed at 90 percent subsidy.
Osunde said 225 enumerators were recruited to register farmers in Sokoto State.
For the GES TAP, farmer’s registration details are captured electronically including photos of the farmer and ID document. Farmers are then issued with a TAP card configured with the Near Field Communications, NFC, tablet. Agro-dealers and registration officers transact electronically in mobile coverage areas and off-line.
Osunde said the inputs were being redeemed by the farmers at 74 redemption centres in the 23 local government areas with 74 help line staff engaged to cater for farmers at the centres across the state.
A total of 118,000 farmers were said to have redeemed input which comprised fertiliser, maize, rice seeds and agrolyser in the state in the last two weeks.
A farmer in Tureta Local Government Area of the state, Abubakar Tureta, said they are impressed with the new system as only genuine farmers were getting the commodity and other inputs.
Tureta who is chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria ( AFAN) in Tureta local government, disclosed that 8,000 farmers were registered under the scheme in the area.
He confirmed that a  bag of fertiliser with unit price of N5,500 is sold to them  at N2,750.Agrolyser with unit price of N1,450 is sold to them at N725 while 12.5kg rice seed worth N3,125 is sold to them at N310 and 10kg  maize seeds worth N2,000 sold to them at N200.
Hajiya Talatu Sani, a farmer in Kware Local Government Area of the state described the scheme as a welcome development.
She was particularly glad that the system ensures that only a registered card holder gets the inputs,saying that would curb a lot of fraudulent acts.
Hajiya Talatu said she has redeemed the inputs under the scheme using her green card.
Similarly, another Sokoto-based farmer, Mohammed Salisu, noted that the GES-TAP scheme was better than the previous GES system which was based on mobile network.
However,one problem which was highlighted by some farmers was that of ‘failed cards’.
But  Mr Nosa Osunde, Sokoto State Coordinator of the scheme, said they have  been working to redress the ‘failed cards’ problems and that majority of them had been resolved.

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