Nigeria: ANPP anger over free phone plan for farmers

 
 A farmer carries a bunch of cassava roots in Nigeria's Osun State on 26 August 2010 The government says it wants to modernise the agriculture sector

A Nigerian opposition party has condemned a government scheme to give 10 million mobile phones for free to farmers.

All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) General Secretary Tijani Tumsa said the plan was a "mischievous vote-catching exercise" for the 2015 elections.

Last week, the agriculture minister said the phones would help farmers "drive an agriculture revolution".

Akinwumi Adesina said their purchase would be financed through a tax.

He denied reports that the government had already set aside $400m (£249m) to buy the phones.

Mr Tumsa told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme the scheme was a ploy by the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) to "connect" with voters in rural areas in the build-up to elections.

Start Quote

Our goal is to empower every farmer”

End Quote Akinwumi Adesina Agriculture minister

He said he doubted the plan would boost the farming sector.

"You are just creating business for the telecom companies. You are not impacting on agricultural production in Nigeria, unless the purpose is to have more phone coverage," Mr Tumsa added.

Defending the scheme, Mr Adesina said Nigeria had the highest number of mobile phones in Africa - an estimated 110 million - but many Nigerians in rural areas did not have them.

"Our goal is to empower every farmer. No farmer will be left behind," Mr Adesina said in a statement.

"We will reach them in their local languages and use mobile phones to trigger an information revolution which will drive an agricultural revolution."

He said five million of the 10 million phones would be given to women.

A government agency, the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), would help finance the scheme through a tax, he said.

"We intend to work with existing mobile operators in Nigeria through a public-private partnership," Mr Adesina said.

"Agriculture today is more knowledge-intensive and we will modernize the sector, and get younger entrepreneurs into the sector, and we will arm them with modern information systems."

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 96.

    Stories concerning historic or 'less advanced' societies (I use that term under advisement!) are interesting as they shine a light on the BS and spin of our own in the present.

    This is crumbs from the big table to the plebs. The ruling elite, whatever country or era - the mentality is always, with absolute conviction in the ignorance of their subjects,

    But gradually things change...

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 95.

    //. nicelobon winit
    15 MINUTES AGO
    No doubt this will be paid for with aid money from the UK.//

    I for one would be chuffed if that's the case. Done properly, this could be invaluable in supplying farmers with info re weather, roads, markets etc.

    I am strongly anti-immigration, and not massively pc. And I believe the place place for a Nigerian is Nigeria, not here, but with a decent life.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 94.

    What an odd subject, supplying phones to their people is entirely the business of the Nigerian government and its people and not of any interest to the UK or the BBC. Have they put something in the coffee at broadcasting house, have you all gone Dolally Tap? Get a grip and discuss some real news please. Will this be deleted, deep sigh?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 93.

    grumpysleepless,

    I think that the lack of reporting on those issues is more to do with the fact that those have been going on for a long time. News organisations usually drop stories that are fairly static in nature.

    I suspect that this was picked up because either the proposal was new and/or the opposition's opposition to the policy was new.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 92.

    //Michael Lloyd
    You are the British Broadcasting Corporation. You regularly deny us a say on matters pertaining to our own country. This topic is no concern of yours, ours, or indeed anyone's except Nigerians and their government.//

    I think it's great that we're discussing this. Better than the normal crap HYS does. And it's not about America. The BBC may be making progress. Don't knock it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 91.

    To those who say that, as it's happening so far away, we don't need to know about it:

    Just remember that as voters we have to hold our Government to account. Part of that is assessing the way they deal with other countries. To understand those issues we need to understand what's going on in other countries. The BBC would be doing us a dis-service if it didn't give us access to that information.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 90.

    No doubt this will be paid for with aid money from the UK.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 89.

    Do the farmers who are to receive the phones have electricity available for recharging them?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 88.

    If the BBC think that we would be interested in stories on Africa why not talk about the farmers who have been killed in Zimbabwe and South Africa,instead of this non-story,is it because of their colour?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 87.

    People forget that phones are useful for farmers. Other farmers in Africa have used mobile internet to find out which town would give them the best price for their produce before deciding which direction to take when leaving their farms to sell goods.

    Without detailed knowledge of the Nigerian context it's hard to say whether the Govt should be distributing phones.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 86.

    As usual, the Party comes first - what an abysmal waste of money!
    ... Why does this sound familiar?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 85.

    84. Michael Lloyd
    JUST NOW
    This is the UK. You are the British Broadcasting Corporation. You regularly deny us a say on matters pertaining to our own country. This topic is no concern of yours, ours, or indeed anyone's except Nigerians and their government.

    Can we discuss matters relating to the UK now?
    --
    Would you mean the audit by any chance?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 84.

    This is the UK. You are the British Broadcasting Corporation. You regularly deny us a say on matters pertaining to our own country. This topic is no concern of yours, ours, or indeed anyone's except Nigerians and their government.

    Can we discuss matters relating to the UK now?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 83.

    Told you before you removed my comment that this topic has no relevance whatsoever to the British public and you would not get a 100 replies.BORING!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 82.

    Last week, the agriculture minister said the phones would help farmers "drive an agriculture revolution".

    I know phones are smart these days, but can they buy and drive tractors, combine harvesters and complete complex financial transactions (fishing).

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 81.

    This is nothing new....

    ...A bit like the Labour Party giving free prescriptions in its Welsh heartlands or Gordon Brown offering Tax credits to all, ensnaring the majority of the population into serfdom?

    Politics is the same the world over!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 80.

    Why doesn't the ANPP see this as an opportunity to be able to contact influential people (farmers) in rural communities rather than winging. The government is very kindly facilitating social media campaigns for them

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 79.

    @ 75. faceinthecrowd
    "i'll remember this the next time there's another round of charities crying for more money to feed starving people in africa"

    Just how ignorant are you, do you realise Africa is a continent not a country and in Nigeria the normal people look after eachother, they do not look for handouts they work hard to get the food for themselves and their own families.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 78.

    55. scirop

    "Did Labour not to the exact same thing by handing ut free laptops to unemployed immigrants so they could vote online in the previous election?"

    No, they didn't, because it's currently impossible to vote online in a UK general election. Please don't tell lies just to prop up your political bias. People will think you're a Daily Mail reader.

  • Comment number 77.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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