The Nigeria Strategy Support Program (NSSP) is pleased to announce the publication of the paper entitled "Driving Agricultural Transformation with the Power of Information and Communication Technology: The Performance of Nigeria's Growth Enhancement Support Scheme" by Professor Aderibigbe S. Olomola in the NSSP Working Paper Series (Working Paper No. 30).
Abstract: Nigeria liberalized input distribution and established the Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) in 2011 to deliver subsidized inputs to farmers as part of its Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA). Despite the relevance of the GESS as a subsidy delivery mechanism, its achievements during the first year of implementation (2012) were below expectations. In 2015, as the first phase of the GESS is ending, has there been any significant improvement in its implementation? What improvements have occurred in redemption and participation rates? Even though the GESS is known to be making contributions in terms of ensuring direct access by farmers to subsidized inputs, the main determinants of farmers’ participation remain unknown. This study seeks to (i) examine the application of ICT innovations in the implementation of the GESS; (ii) assess its implementation performance from inception to date; and (iii) determine the factors influencing farmers’ participation in the scheme. The study is timely and has significant policy relevance judging by the desire of the government of Nigeria to understand the performance of the GESS in view of the enormous financial and material resources that have been committed to the scheme since its inception in 2012. An evaluation of the performance of the GESS will provide the government with feedback required for making adjustments in input subsidy spending, especially in the face of the recently declining oil revenues. It becomes imperative to have evidence to inform policy decisions regarding possible adjustments as the scheme passes over the first phase.
The process of targeting farmers to benefit from the input subsidy program under the GESS started with the registration of 3.9 million farmers in 2012. The number increased to 9.5 million in 2013 and 10.5 million in 2014. The number of farmers targeted for the subsidy benefit also continued to increase from 1.1 million in 2012 to 7.2 million in 2013 to 8.3 million in 2014. Under the scheme, the quantity of fertilizer distributed to farmers increased from 120,900 metric tonnes in 2012 to 466,600 metric tonnes in 2013, rising phenomenally to 748,800 metric tonnes in 2014. On fertilizer subsidy alone, the amount spent by the federal government rose from 6.65 billion naira in 2012 to 22.92 billion naira in 2013 to 41.19 billion naira in 2014. This implies that the total public spending on fertilizer subsidy (by federal and state governments) over the period increased from 13.30 billion naira in 2012 to 45.84 billion naira in 2013 to 82.38 billion naira in 2014. The number of farmers that benefited from the subsidy increased from 729,000 in 2012 to 4.12 million in 2013 and 7.22 million in 2014. The study concludes that the implementation of the GESS is on a path of continuous improvement; and that the policy and strategic reforms in input subsidy delivery have yielded many of the desired results.