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Minister of Agriculture Denies Plan to Spend N60 Billion but Affirms that 10 Million Mobile Phones will be Bought for Farmers



Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina is denying the widespread news of the Federal Government’s plan to purchase mobile phones for farmers at the cost of N60 Billion. According to him, the information is “absolutely incorrect”. He says that his “Permanent Secretary was totally misquoted out of context” and that there is no “60 Billion Naira for phones anywhere.”

He however affirmed that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is planning on getting 10 Million mobile phones for farmers, as part of its agricultural transformation agenda. He said the aim is “to connect farmers to information, expand their access to markets, improve their access to savings and loans, and help them adapt to climate change dynamics that affect them and their livelihoods”.

As stated in his press release, “Agriculture today is more knowledge-intensive and we will modernize the sector, and get younger (graduate) entrepreneurs into the sector, and we will arm them with modern information systems. Whether small, medium or large farmers they all need information and communication systems.” 

“Nigeria has 110 million cellphones, the largest in Africa. But there is a huge divide: the bulk of the phones are in urban areas. The rural areas are heavily excluded. For agriculture, which employs 70% of the population, that means the farmers are excluded and marginalized. In today’s world, the most powerful tool is a mobile phone. As Minister of Agriculture, I want the entire rural space of Nigeria, and farmers, to be included, not excluded, from advantages of mobile phone revolution.”

According to the Minister, from 2013, the Federal Government intends to distribute 10 million phones, so they can reach more millions of farmers with the GES scheme for subsidized inputs. Out of the 10 million phones, 5 million will go to women.

Although he denied that the FG did not intend to spend N60 Billion, he still said there were plans to distribute 10 Million mobile phones to farmers. This still leaves most people confused. Purchasing 10 million mobile phones is still a Billion-Naira project which is what has gotten Nigerians outraged.

What are your thoughts on the Minister’s statement?

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. Glam

    January 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    What’s with all these denying things this new year??? Hmnn!

  2. Glam

    January 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    But what’s the difference really? 10million phones would definitely not cost N10M so what’s the point in denying sef???
    “10 million mobile phones for farmers as part of its agricultural transformation agenda” – Minister of Communication, sorry Agriculture…

  3. iamfascinating

    January 4, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    mobile phones will do a fab job of developing the agricultural sector…

  4. phantom

    January 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I like this minister dude, i really do, but this his so-called clarification exercise sounds a tad daft to me. Like glam rightly noted, 10 million phones will still cost a lot of money and from previous experiences, we know that in Nig, the higher the contract value, the lower the chances of delivery.

    I dont care if 100billion is spent on farmers and by extension, agriculture, just channel the money to the right necessities. and from where i’m standing, mobile phones aint at the top of that list. #actright!

  5. femi salisu

    January 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    The GEJ government has shown again its insincerity and ineptitude in running d affairs of this country.The question is are these phones going to fall down like d biblical manna from heaven without the government paying for them?Assuming each phone will cost #1000 that means 10billion naira will be expended on his project.

  6. Susant

    January 4, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    insensitive leaders and complete lack of vision

  7. Lentini

    January 4, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    so i want to play this out in my head.

    Minister Of Agriculture- Mr president, my research shows that food production is at it’s lowest in the country sir.

    President Jonathan- So minister What do you propose we do to help boost the production of food in the country?

    MOA- Em em Sir i think we should buy 10 million cell phones from China and the US and give to these farmers in the rural areas to help them produce more.

    President Jonathan- wow! that is a great idea Minister. how much will it cost the federal govt

    MOA- Mr President it will ONLY cost 60billion Naira sir.

    Mr President- That is very cheap Minister, lets get it done. It will just be like calling the farmers whenever they get Phone service to deliver cassava bread.

  8. star

    January 4, 2013 at 6:38 pm


  9. Deedee

    January 4, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Very stupid leaders,its unfortunate……………


    January 4, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    ITS EITHER THE MINISTER IS INSANE OR STUPID TO TELL NIGERIANS THAT THEY RE BUYING CELL PHONES FOR FARMERS TO BE ABLE TO CONNECT TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, STUDY WEATHER AND , OK let me just quote the DOCTOR guy. He said the aim is “to connect farmers to information, expand their access to markets, improve their access to savings and loans, and help them adapt to climate change dynamics that affect them and their livelihoods”. My 5 year old Son knows better. Now, what type of phone would enable these folks to achieve these definitely not the regular phone 80% Nigerians are using right now. They must be looking at Iphone, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, or even IPad. They can even start planting on the phones. Who made this dummy head a minister, for God sake, Mr Adesina, dont expect that from a kindergarten student in Nigeria talkless of a Doctorate degree holder. Whaooo, Nigerians need to pray death for such people in Government. Am sorry, I take that back, Mr Minister, I am bidding for a contract to remove flies and Mosquitoes from Nigeria for N125 Billion only. You know your cut now ooo. Stupid fellow. He even said the permanent Sec. was misquoted. Your Papa get phone. I kuku no blame you, its the National chin-chin.

    • Anwar Inglis

      May 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      I have listened to Dr. Akinwumi Adesina explain that rural farmers in Nigeria, through cell phone technology(SMS) were informed where and when fertilizer were available and where to purchase. A vast Database of farmers in the millions is being compiled and through cellphones they can be informed of the latest trends, drought warnings, market prices, availability of seed, fertilizers etc. He further went on to explain that for 40 years the government supplied fertilizer for farmers but through corruption it never reached the farmers instead it reached neighbouring countries. It took 90 days to end this corrupt practice and now it is available for farmers with the help of cell phone technology.
      Dr. Akinwumi addressed a business forum in Cape Town 7th May 2013 during President Goodluck Johnathan’s state visit to South Africa.
      He further explained Nigeria was a net importer of Food commodities and through government initiatives the role is being reversed. For example Nigeria is the largest producer of tomatoes in Sub-Saharan Africa but imports half of its tomato paste from China and Italy. Nigeria is the largest raw producer of Cassava but processes very little. There are many other examples but lets leave it at that.
      You have a population of nearly 170 million but half of that live in rural areas with limited infra structure. Do you now see the role that cell phones can play?
      Rarely have we heard such eloquence from a speaker who was well rehearsed in his topic and had the strategy to transform Nigeria’s agricultural sector. We South African’s were nodding our heads in approval as he revealed his transformation plans to make Nigeria a net exporter of food commodities.
      A prophet is seldom recognized in his own country. As I left that forum I was very envious of Nigeria’s Agricultural sector with such an astute leader in Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.
      My warmest regards and may the Almighty’s choicest blessings be bestowed on all Nigerians and may all Africa benefit from Nigeria and South Africa’s bilateral relations.
      Anwar Inglis
      Cape Town

  11. Soraya

    January 5, 2013 at 12:34 am

    I don’t understand how anybody in the Ministry of Agriculture would think that farmers need mobile phones??? How many farmers actually know how to read and write or even know their right hand from their left??? What farmers need is supporting through an enabling environment to produce sufficient quantities of food to feed the nation and to create employment for the unemployed. Agriculture is really where Nigeria’s potential lies, not oil! And guess where the true economic heartbeat of the nation is? The Middle Belt (Nigeria, Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Plateau and Yobe), so it does not take a genius to work out why these parts of the country have borne the brunt of Boko Haram attacks- even these terrorists themselves know, that is why they are busy working hard to drive Christians off the land

  12. HABBA

    January 5, 2013 at 12:40 am

    OLE!!!! OLE OLOSHI! look at him! he has chopped the money! nigeria has a leadership problem. there is money but the leaders are spending it on ther children and RUNS GIRLS!

  13. jyde

    January 5, 2013 at 2:26 am

    You have to credit us with this talent we have of finding new ways to loot.
    Has it got to the point where its a game of who can think up the best con game in town?
    Why not give struggling farmers land,seeds and fertilizers first then phones.
    That im sure is what millions of us are thinking,but no be 4dis our nijah.
    Instead greed has now become so devious and blatant,that farmers are the latest way into loot and smile.
    What next fishing nets for hunters?
    I close mouth joor. Man tire.

  14. Faleti Joseph Owolabi

    January 5, 2013 at 11:07 am

    FG, minister of Agriculture or whosoever disseminating the obnoxious information of spending 6billion on phones to farmers should dymestify to the populace the cost per phone, moreover, is that the next expected project? What about the provision of facilities that can facilitate the effort of these farmers in planting,harvesting and distribution of their products? Please enough of misappropriation of public fund!

  15. x factor

    January 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I am saying this again……..Our leaders are gradually going stark raving mad

  16. a hater!

    January 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Lol…@RUNS GIRLS but I don’t think ds guy is one of them. He can’t degrade himself 4dar

  17. Winny

    January 5, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    God will certainly punish all these politicians and their generations for impoverishing our nation and generations to come. Stupid Man.

  18. Maro boje

    January 6, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Any of you ever heard of constructive critism?The minister is not out of line beceause majority of the rural farmers don’t have phones and they need phones to access the subsidized implements what you should be talking about is how to get the phones to the right people.

  19. Dolapo

    January 7, 2013 at 7:38 am

    I read the quoted response on a socio-cultural forum and it seems to explain this agri-phone business clearly to me. I share it here for your reading pleasure…
    “It is interesting to see how this policy has been discarded without any mention of the structure or benefits therein. A few things we should note before casting Dr. Adesina to the wolves.

    1. The phones in question will not be bought by the government alone. The structure is similar to the Abiye one Mimiko used to improve maternal mortality in Ondo State. The telcos, financial institutions and DFI are all partners here, so cost to government is limited.

    2. This scheme has already been piloted in the north for confirmation of input supply only. It has proven useful in confirming fertilizer supply to smallholder farmers, which is why it is being expanded.

    3. While I agree that farm gate wastage is a major problem with farmers today, SMS and app based information is the way to go. With feature phones in a closed user group, farmers can access information on weather, pricing, farming methods and potential off takers at little or no cost. This is a critical piece of developing smallholders in Africa and is a model that’s worked in similar environments.

    4. When linked to mobile money, it allows for micro lending and improves financial inclusion in the rural areas.

    I must add that I also have doubts. Should this be priority? Maybe not. Have the components needed for extension services been developed? This is unclear. But we should be reviewing the overall agric policy which is publicly available, and offering suggestions on how to improve same. Throwing the baby with the bath water is usually not the right solution.

    My two cents.” – Name witheld.

  20. ruth

    January 7, 2013 at 10:29 am

    investing billions on phones?will dey be calling their crops with it?or better still are dey assured phone numbers of d minister so dey can call 2 tell him dey need fertilizer?hmmm anoda wise corruption move!nyc 1 guys,buh God is watching o!

  21. James

    February 8, 2013 at 10:22 am

    may God help Nigeria…. I guess this was their plans hence why they redeploy the former Perm Sec Dr Ezekiel Oyemomi because he must have refused to be part of their corruption…. thief people.. thunder fire Dr Adesina…. thief

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