Farmers laud govt. for fertiliser supplies, expect bumper harvest

Farmers laud govt. for fertiliser supplies, expect bumper harvest

Friday, August 3, 2018 3:59 pm

Farmers in the North-West geopolitical zone of the country have commended the federal and state governments for the hitch-free supply of fertiliser in the current cropping season.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the farmers, who spoke in a nationwide survey, said that the commodity was available and affordable, adding that they were, therefore, looking forward to bumper harvests this year.

However, the situation is somewhat different in Kebbi, as some respondents complained of the inability of farmers to access fertiliser, while others said that the commodity was available in government stores and in the open market.

In Zamfara, the state government said that it had procured over 25, 000 tonnes of fertiliser for the 2018 wet season farming for sales to farmers at the rate of N5,000 per 50kg. bag.

The Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Lawal Jangebe, who said this, stressed that each of the 14 local government areas of the state had received 30 trucks of fertiliser for distribution and sale to farmers.

“So far, based on the reports we have now, the exercise in moving on smoothly in all the local government areas and farmers are appreciating state government’s efforts in this regard,’’ he said.

Alhaji Malami Buwai, the Chairman of All Farmers Association (AFAN) in Zamfara, commended the government for the fertiliser supplies and advised farmers to utilise the opportunity to boost their output.

In Kano State, the AFAN Chairman, Alhaji Faruk Rabiu, nonetheless, grumbled that middlemen were making the farmers’ efforts to procure the government’s fertiliser difficult and called on Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje to introduce stringent measures to curb the growing menace of the middlemen.

He alleged that the middlemen were buying up government fertiliser from the stores of Kano State Agricultural Supply Company (KASCO) at N5, 500 per bag and selling it at prices ranging between N6, 500 and N7, 500 per bag to farmers.

“It is unfortunate that many farmers, who went to the company’s stores in some local government areas to buy the commodity, as directed, have been complaining about its shortage.

“Those dealers or middlemen are going round the KASCO stores in the local government areas buying up the commodity, with the sole intention of creating artificial scarcity so as to maximise profits,’’ he said.

He, therefore, advised the state government to instruct the company to allocate fertiliser directly to farmers’ associations in order to facilitate its sale to only genuine farmers.

“This is the only alternative if farmers are to get fertiliser with ease and prevent dealers from hijacking fertiliser sales, especially in the rural areas,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Abba Abdullahi, the Special Adviser to Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina State, said that the government had distributed the 25,000 tonnes of fertiliser, which it procured at the cost of N574 million, to farmers at the polling units level.

He said that 24,000 tonnes of the fertiliser were supplied to small-scale farmers, while the remaining 1,000 tonnes were sold to large-scale farmers at the rate of N5, 000 per bag.

A farmer, Malam Musa Abdullahi, said that for the first time in several years, “fertiliser is available in government stores across the state.

“We don’t have much problem in getting fertiliser this time around; anybody who has the means can go and get it from the government stores at a subsidised rate.

“That policy has assisted in making fertiliser available at subsidised prices; and nobody will like go to the open market to buy the commodity unless he cannot get it from the government,’’ he said.

In Kaduna State, the state AFAN Chairman, NuhuAminu, told NAN that the market was already saturated with fertiliser, while farmers now had the privilege of choosing from a wide variety of fertiliser brands.

He said that the situation had even facilitated a reduction in prices, as the association was selling fertiliser to its members at the rate of N5, 300 per bag, as opposed to the government price of N5, 500 per bag.

“ We have procured fertiliser for our members at a lesser landing cost of N5, 300 per 50kg.bag, and it is available everywhere in the state.

“The market is also open and as AFAN member, you can buy as much as you want but in the case of the government fertiliser, its sale is restricted to only four 50kg. bags per smallholder farmer,’’ Aminu added.

Malam Dahiru Abdullahi, the Public Relations Officer of Kaduna State Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, told NAN that the fertiliser market in the state was now more “competitive’’ because of fertiliser supplies by private providers.

He said that the situation had given farmers more options to choose from, adding that the state government had provided adequate quantity of fertilisers for farmers at affordable prices.

Nevertheless, the Kaduna State chapter of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) advised the government to establish a farmers’ databank to address the challenges facing distribution of farm inputs, particularly fertiliser.

The state Deputy RIFAN Chairman, Muhammad Numbu, who gave the advice, said that the government should partner with relevant stakeholders to create the databank on farmers, which would also boost agricultural production.

“The availability of a comprehensive data would facilitate the procurement and distribution of fertilisers, agro-seeds, tractors and chemicals which farmers need during a cropping season,’’ he said.

Besides, Numbu said that fertiliser was cheaper in the parallel market than in government stores across in the state.

He, however, said that RIFAN had supplied fertiliser to its members through arrangements with private companies which delivered the commodity at prices that were lower than the government rates.

Nevertheless, some farmers in Kebbi complained of the scarcity of fertiliser, saying that the development would consequently affect their productivity this year.

A rice farmer, Alhaji Ibrahim Guluma, told NAN that he had been unable to procure fertiliser from government this year, adding: “I also tried to buy from the open market but it is not available

“We appeal to government at all levels to ensure early distribution of fertiliser and other farm inputs to farmers in order to boost their productivity.’’

Guluma moaned that in spite of the farmers’ readiness to buy fertiliser at the rate of N7,500 per bag in the open market, the product was not available.

Another farmer, Malam Muhammad Ileya-Yari, said that the state government had not supplied fertiliser to farmers this cropping season.

“Last year, the government provided fertiliser at the rate of N6,500 per bag but this year, we have not been able to get fertiliser from the government.

“We were told that we could get fertiliser from the open market at the rate of N7,500 or more; it may be difficult for us to get the quantity of fertilisers we require this season,’’ he added.

However, Alhaji Muhammad Lawal, the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Agriculture, dismissed the farmers’ claims, saying that the state government had distributed adequate fertiliser to all the 21 local government areas of the state.

“There are three depots in each of the local government area, and the state government sells fertiliser to farmers at the rate of N5,500 per bag, as approved by the government.

“The problem with farmers is that they are expecting free fertiliser from the government, which cannot be possible; all these allegations raised against the state government are not true,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the National President of AFAN, AlhajiKabir Ibrahim, has commended the Federal Government for its policy on fertiliser distribution to farmers in the 2018 wet season farming.

He told NAN in Katsina that the new policy would boost agricultural productivity and guarantee food security in the country.

“The Federal Government sold fertiliser to state governments under the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative, with the aim of making the commodity available and affordable to farmers.

“In Katsina State, for instance, bags of fertiliser were sold to every farmer at polling units, irrespective of their political party affiliation.

“The fertilisers were sold to both small-scale and large-scale farmers because the essence is to assist farmers to boost food production.

“The commodity is sold to every farmer who has the means; you cannot prevent people from making complaints, which is normal.

“However, the government did well as far as the distribution of fertiliser is concerned; we must say the truth and commend the government on that.

“In the past, the government subsidised fertiliser and sold less quantities to the farmers without considering who are the real farmers but this time around, the government provided the subsidy on the commodity to make it affordable and made it available,’’ he said.

Ibrahim added that the fertiliser, which was sold by the government, was of high quality and was readily available to interested farmers.

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