To boost its Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), the Federal Government has upgraded the e-wallet system used by farmers to get farming input.
The Nation gatherd that the government is taking the decision to strenghten its reforms in the agricultural sector.
A Presidency source said: “We are upgrading the e-wallet to the National Agricultural Initiative system, so that each card that a farmer has will become a banking card with no fixed amount, for loans, they can save money, they can do insurance, they can transfer money, get anything they want.This will totally change the face of farming in Nigeria.”
Though the e-wallet system has been considered to be a success, it was further revealed that the initiative “has faced challenges of poor network in rural areas. In order to address this challenge, the Ministry of Agriculture is working with the UK government particularly DFID to introduce a new technology called TAP (Touch And Pay) which allows us to use near e-communication technology to support farmers to have access to their farm inputs even at home where there are no networks at all”.
It was also gathered that the government “is trying to harmonise this with National Identity Management Commission’s (NIMC) e-card programme,” adding that all they (farmers) have to do is “take their e-card to the input retailer, tap their cards on the Android phone of the retailer and all information on government allocation of seeds and fertiliser and mechanisation support made available only a few days ago will show up on that application in that particular village.”
The Ministry of Agriculture has developed Nigeria’s first National Database for Farmers with over 14 million farmers registered with identification cards. This farmers’ ID cards are also being upgraded into full national biometric cards (e-Cards).
The source said: “We are already migrating 10.5 million farmers out of the 14 million farmers that we have registered in the e-wallet into this NIMC integrated system. “With e-wallet system, we are reaching farmers with subsidised farming resources over 14 million have redeemed improved seeds and fertilizers since 2012.”
The Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said the bank has “spent a lot of time over the last two years or more, working on this project (e-card) with NIMC. I don’t know what the financial numbers are but we have supported the government by providing facilities where they can work across the country. They are using our premises, they are using our applications.”
Partnering with the Federal Government on the e-card initiative, he said: This “means a lot not just to Access Bank but for the entire banking industry. ID schemes solves a lot of problems. First, it solves the problem of identifying your customers, KYC, (Know Your Customer). It helps in reducing the negative biases we have about Nigeria, just because we have no identity cards, so anybody from anywhere can claim to be a Nigerian.”
Wigwe added that the e-card “will also reduce some of the security challenges that we have as a country because you can truly identify everybody and thereby determine who comes from which country or not.
“We are coming from a situation where there was no proper identification. You have fake drivers’ licences and all that. Now because this card is biometric in nature if your name is Herbert Wigwe, you cannot change that name because my thumb print and finger prints are on it. So, if there is fraud, you can trace who the person is and where he is.”