Saturday, February 24Inside Business Africa

Farmers in 11 states to get fertilizer at N4,500

As part of the COVID-19 palliative, about 50,000 farmers across 11 states will get two bags of fertilizer each at a subsidized rate of N4,500 against the current price of N8,000.

The Federal Government in partnership with OCP Africa Fertilizer Limited unveiled the distribution of the subsidized NPK fertilizers for selected vulnerable farmers in Abia, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Sokoto, Bauchi, and Kwara states.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, said this at the Karshi Market, Abuja.

He said the Federal Government’s partnership with OCP Africa is part of the President’s determination to improve the local production of fertilizer in Nigeria, to enhance productivity and household incomes of the targeted farmers as well as contribute largely to the nation’s food security attainment in general.

To improve the local production of fertilizer, the Federal Government had entered into a bilateral agreement with the King of Morocco for the supply of Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP). As a follow up to the agreement, the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), was set up based on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

Shehuri noted that the Initiative has significantly increased the local production of fertilizers particularly NPK, and has generated a lot of employment along the value chain, thereby conserving scarce foreign exchange, and removing dependence on foreign supply of fertilizers, the revival of over 31 moribund fertilizer blending plants.

He further said the National Fertilizer Quality Control (NFQC) Act to a large extent has provided regulation to ensure that the quality of fertilizer being produced and sold to farmers, “is done within the prescribed set standards in terms of quantity and quality.”

The Minister expressed optimism that “the supply of fertilizers and other farm inputs in the right quantity and quality at the right time and placed at an affordable price(s) backed with proper management practices would go a long way in increasing farmers’ productivity, enhance household incomes, and by extension guarantee food security at national levels.”

He also urged all players in the fertilizer industry to prepare themselves for full implementation of the Act and the regulation under which fertilizer operators (suppliers and distributors) are mandatorily required to register and obtain relevant operating certificates or sales permits before being allowed to operate in Nigeria.

He commended the efforts of OCP Africa Fertilizer by identifying with the Ministry in achieving the national goal of providing good quality Fertilizers to Nigerian farmers across the country.

In his welcome remarks, the Deputy Managing Director/Country Manager OCP Africa Fertilizer, Caleb Usoh, said: “through the 31 outlets spread across several states in the country, OCP Africa would by way of palliatives provide support to 50,000 smallholder farmers by ensuring distribution and access to buy the Presidential Fertilizer Initiatives’ NPK 20:10:10 at a subsidized retail price of N4,500/bag.”

Usoh said OCP Africa would bear the cost of transport logistics, warehousing and distribution of these inputs to targeted farmers, adding that a total of N50 million worth of subsidies will be given as palliatives during the COVID-19 pandemic season.

He also informed that “the organization is undertaking to train 50,000 smallholder farmers on good agricultural practices specific to crops and value chains localized to specific regions. To implement this, OCP Africa has engaged qualified training facilitators as well as recruited, equipped and engaged over 90 Extension Service Agents (Agripromoters) to support training and extension. OCP Nigeria has also purchased over 60 motorcycles to aid mobility, 25 Cargo Tricycles to aid redistribution and 100 electronic tablets to aid data gathering and learning for the recruited extension agents.”

Source: Guardian

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