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Mixed reactions over fertilizer cost in North west

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Farmers in Kebbi and Kano states have hailed the level of fertiliser supply in their states, saying that the commodity was sold at the controlled price of N5,500.

However, farmers in Zamfara said that the supply was low and difficult to access.

In Kebbi, 886,000 tones of fertilizer were distributed by the state government to farmers in 225 wards across the 21 local government areas of the state.

The state government Spokesman, Alhaji Sani Dododo, told the Nigeria News Agency in Birnin Kebbi that the fertilizer was sold at subsidized rate of N5,500 per bag.

Dododo said the government and stakeholders have had extensive discussions before agreeing on issues affecting all aspects of agriculture in the state.

“The stakeholders comprise, traditional rulers, politicians, members of farmers associations in the state,” he said.

Also, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Alhaji Muhammad Lawal, told NAN that the state government had been selling fertilizer to farmers based on approved Federal Government price.

“We had procured more than enough fertilizer as even after the sells we still have huge quantity of it stocked in our stores across the 21 local government areas.

” We have been selling it at the cost of N5,500 per bag, but if you go to market you get it at N8,300 per bag.

” We don’t have shortage of fertilizer and we sell it for all our interested farmers irrespective of where and which political party you belong as we consider our farmers as one family members under same household.”

Lawal said the state government had been in touch with security agencies to prevent diversion of the commodity.

“We carried out awareness campaign on the danger of transporting the fertilizer to neighboring states and countries.

“We made our farmers to realise that the fertiliser was supplied to cushion the effect of the hardship they face in accessing inputs for their farming activities.”

A farmer in Birnin Kebbi, Alhaji Ibrahim Guluma, said he has four hectares of rice farm and was able to secure fertiliser from government.

“I initially tried to buy from the open market, but on hearing that it is available even in our wards I quickly went and bought what I required.”

Guluma recalled  that in 2018, despite their readiness to buy the product at the rate of N7,500 in the open market, it was not available.

He said the changes in supply and sales of fertilizer was remarkable.

However, in Zamfara, farmers were not happy over supply and sale of fertilizer, saying it remained scarce and expensive.

The farmers expressed the hope that efforts to revive the Gusau fertilizer blending plant may ease supply pressure next season.

One of the farmers, Shehu Abdullahi, said it was difficult getting fertiliser on time and at affordable rate.

“If government want to support farmers, it must provide fertiliser to farmers in large quantity and at subsidise rate.”

Another farmer, Alhaji Maiharaji Altine-Sallah, said fertiliser was difficult to get in Zamfara.

According to him, high quality grade of fertilizer is being sold at between N9,000 and N8,500 while low quality fertiser goes for N7,000 and N5,000.

Managing Director, Gusau fertiliser blending company, Mr Mustafa Anka, said the company built in 1998 to produce all brand of Nitrogen Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK), has been resuscitated after its closure in 2006 due to lack of funds.

The state governor, Bello Matawalle, released N10 million to revive the company.

Anka said:“We told him that our major problem was funding and he gave us N10 million for test running.

“We are already partnering with Savannah Global Agro Resources Limited who bring raw materials for us at the cost of over N30 million.

“We have embarked on this production as test running, we are now producing 20 tonnes per hour.

“This company has the capacity to produce 35 tonnes per hour and if the company resumes full operations, in ten hours we will be able to have ten trucks of fertilizer.

“The company need N2 billion to operate to full capacity; you know the issue of fertilizer blending is capital intensive.

“We have already approached Bank of Agriculture, they directed us to go to Sterling Bank to obtain loan and the bank said they are ready to give us the loan of N2 billion on single digit interest.

“Therefore, with the permission of the state governor if everything works fine, we will resume full production very soon.

“Our basic challenge is the funding; you can see the machines are okay, in terms of workforce if we have enough funding we can get many workers since we will be paying them directly.’’

In Kano, the Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Tsanyawa Local Government Area, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanyawa commended President Muhammad Buhari for providing fertiliser to farmers at subsidised rate.

According to him, the presidential intervention has made fertilizer readily available everywhere and throughout the year at affordable prices.

According to him, “before the coming of this subsidised fertiliser by the President, we used to by the product at the rate of N9000, which at the end of the harvest, the farmers cannot even recoup what they have spent, thus forcing many to run away from farming.

“We commend the president for such assistance, because the subsidised fertilizer is now N5,500; he is motivating us to return to farm and continue with our farming activities.

“We have not experienced cases of people selling the subsidised fertiliser at a higher rate, because it’s price is already written on all the bags. Therefore, farmers can easily shun and even report anyone found guilty of such”.

Tsanyawa, however, said that lack of access to markets is a major challenge, as farmers are left with huge stocks with no buyers.

“The Federal Government should buy off excess grains and other products from the farms, so as to encourage farmers produce more,” he said.

However, Head of Agric Department, Kiru Local government Area, Alhaji Sani Ishak said the demand for fertilizer in the area was higher than the quantity being supplied.

According to him, the area has large number of farmers, as such it is necessary for government to increase the supply of fertiliser to the area.

He explained that the subsidised fertiliser had really helped farmers not only in Kano, but all over the country to improve their outputs.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

Agriculture

Beans price crashes in Katsina markets

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The price of beans has crashed from N600 per measure to N200, following the arrival of newly harvested beans in markets in Katsina town, Nigeria News Agency reports.

A survey conducted by NAN on Thursday in Katsina metropolis showed that before of the arrival of the newly harvested beans, a 100kg bag of beans was sold for N24, 000 and now sells for N8, 000.

The survey, which covered the Old Township Market, Central Market, Kofar and Marusa Markets, showed that the newly harvested beans are species of the commodity that mature in only 40 days for harvesting.

According to the survey, several residents of the town have opted to buy the fresh beans because they came fresh from the farms.

Some Katsina residents told NAN that they preferred to eat the new beans to avoid being victims of bean poisoning.

They alleged that some beans traders used poisonous chemicals before storing the commodity.

A beans trader, Malam Garba Lawal told NAN that the sharp drop in price of beans had affected their business.

“The drop has affected us because we cannot sell our old stock at the old price and we have lost a lot of money as a result.’’

A consumer, Malam Ahmad Musa said that the reduction in the price of beans “is a blessing to the common man, who is financially handicap’’.

The Vice Chairman, Katsina Grains Sellers Association, Alhaji Musa Isah said the arrival of the new beans had brought relief to the common man.

Isah said that the newly harvested beans could not be stored but must be sold quickly “because they are too fragile to be kept’’.

SUD/GY

Edited by Grace Yussuf

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Agriculture

We can achieve reliable database for farmers in Delta – former AFAN Chairman

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Mr Jerry Ossai, former Delta Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) says the association will build a reliable database for famers in the State by December.

He made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Asaba.

Ossai, who is currently the Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa on Agriculture Matters said only reliable data of all the farmers in the state, could help government make informed decision concerning the sector.

He said that the farmers’ census could be made easier with the collaboration of the state Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MANR).

Ossai said that he raised the issue on reliable database when members of AFAN paid a visit to the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Julius Egbedi, adding that reliable data was necessary for planning.

“AFAN had an audience with the commissioner for agriculture and I raised the issue on the need for a reliable database of all the farmers to help government make informed decisions.

“With a proper data base of all farmers in the state, there will be reliable information of who is producing what and where, which will help government to have knowledge on who to provide for, what and where in relations to financial assistance to farmers.

“To achieve this, AFAN and MANR will collaborate to compile one database and all commodity groups are to draw their lists while extension officers and local government agric officers will work on non-group farmers.

“With this, we can have a database for farmers in the state by end of the year,” Ossai said.

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Agriculture

NEMA distributes 286 trucks of fertiliser to farmers in Benue – Official

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Mr Eugene Nyelong, the Zonal Coordinator, North Central Zone,  NEMA told the newsmen in Makurdi on Thursday that over 23, 000 farmers had benefited from the ongoing Federal Government Agricultural Intervention Programme in the state so far.

He said that all the enumerated farmers from the 23 local governments in the state would benefit from the fertiliser distribution.

According to him, 105 trucks of fertilisers are ready for direct distribution to the beneficiaries.

“We got over 23,000 farmers from the exercise and distributed farm inputs to them and their farms are doing very well.

“Now is the distribution of fertilisers, Benue is to receive a total of 286 trucks of fertilisers in all, but for now we have received 105 trucks that are ready for distribution.”

Nyelong said that each truck of fertilisers consist of 600 bags.

He commended the state government and SEMA for their collaboration in terms of human capacity, provision of vehicles and public enlightenment.

He said that the state needed proper coordination of affected farmers from the local communities for effective intervention.

He said many farmers in Benue on several occasions commended NEMA and the Federal Government for being diligent in reaching out directly to them without short changing them.

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Agriculture

Agriculturist calls for improved infrastructure to attract youths

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An agriculturist, Mr Tosin Babajide, says that there is an urgent need to improve road infrastructure so as to attract youths into farming.

Babajide told the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Lagos that agriculture was fast becoming the mainstay of the economy but the workforce in the sector needed to change.

He said that the majority of farmers across the country were old and the youth had to play a role in the development of agriculture, without which, no nation would survive.

“Currently, we are talking about the issue of the increasing population globally and Nigeria is in the spotlight with a projected growth of over 440 million people in 2050.

“The Federal Government has made agriculture a priority sector and a lot of attention is on the sector but we need to get youth into the system.

“What we have now are old men and women who have been in the farming business all their lives.

“If we must get the youths to be attracted to the business of farming, then we must put certain things right and in place for them to see,’’ he said.

Babajide, who is also an oil palm farmer, said that modern machines at subsidized rates and available for leasing should be made available to farmers to ease methods of farming.

ITM/PDE

(Editing by peter Ejiofor)

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Agriculture

Expert warns of looming scarcity of honey in Nigeria

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Dr Yusuf Madaki, Director, Animal Health, Yobe Livestock Development Programme, has warned that unregulated use of agro-chemicals was threatenening the existence of bees and honey production in Nigeria.

Madaki gave the warning on Wednesday in Damaturu while speaking with the Nigeria News Agency .

He said that Nigeria’s ecosystem had suffered grossly from unregulated use of agro-chemicals on farms with health implications on humans, animals and plants.

“Unfortunately, in spite of earlier warnings by concerned persons, there has been little or no effort to stem the tide of the abuse in usage of the chemicals,” Madaki lamented.

The director said that there was gross reduction in honey production across the country as “the bees are facing extinction by the activities of farmers”.

“Bee farming and honey production is becoming unattractive and unprofitable in the country.

“I am afraid the scarcity of honey will continue to be on the increase and the product will always be adulterated,” Madaki said.

He advised government at all levels to take stringent measures against flagrant abuse of agro-chemicals by crop farmers.

Edited by Razak Owolabi and Ephraims Sheyin

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