The Federal Government has commended Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP) Africa, a Morocco-based phosphate fertiliser company for the distribution of fertilisers at subsidised rate to 50,000 farmers in 11 states of the country as Coronavirus (COVID-19) palliatives.
Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development conveyed government’s commendation on Tuesday at the official inauguration of OCP Africa fertiliser distribution to farmers in Karshi Development Area of Nasarawa state.
Shehuri said that the distribution of subsidised fertiliser to about 50,000 farmers in eleven states was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s drive to pull the country out of poverty by providing the required supports and creating an enabling environment for private sector support, partnership and input.
“The laudable gesture being shown by OCP Africa fertiliser is not only commendable but worthy of emulation by other meaningful organisations and individuals operating in the country.
“I understand that similar gesture is being extended to other selected farmers in many places across eleven states in the country and covered 50,000 farmers with 2 bags of NPK fertilisers at N4,500 per 50kg bag,” he said.
He assured that government would continue to support such initiative due to the priority accorded the agriculture sector by President Buhari in his determination to diversify the sector, create more jobs and reduce poverty in the country.
“I wish therefore to once more commend the efforts of OCP Africa fertiliser Limited by identifying with us in achieving our national goals of providing good quality fertilisers to our teeming farmers across the country.
“I believe this laudable support will go a long way in enhancing the productivity and household incomes of the targeted farmers and contribute largely to the food security attainment of the nation in general,” he said.
He said that the federal government has put in place a National Fertiliser Quality Control (NFQC) Act and Regulations to ensure that the quality of fertilisers being produced and sold to farmers in the country is in line with the prescribed standards in terms of quantity and quality.
“My ministry will ensure that the Act and Regulations are fully implemented in order to safeguard the hard earned investment of the teeming farmers of this country,” he said.
Speaking to newsmen, Mr Caleb Usoh, Country Manager of OCP Africa said that states benefiting from the gesture include Kaduna, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Kwara, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, Bauchi, Abia, Ogun and Kano.
He explained that the company’s gesture is to alleviate the challenges facing poor farmers as a result of the harsh effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We understand what farmers across the country are passing through. So, the best we could do is to sustain farmers who are actually the consumers of agriculture inputs to make sure that their livelihood are not adversely affected.
“This is our own gesture to make sure their businesses are still economically viable.
“We are doing this with many stakeholders, federal ministry of agriculture, state governments, blending plants and many other partners in the agriculture value chain,” he said
He said that the company decided to take the fertilisers to farmers in their localities in order to ease their transportation burden and long travels to access the commodity.
In a goodwill message, Mr Idris Mohammed, representing Wazobia Farmers Association in Karshi, expressed gratitude to the company for the provision of the fertilisers at a subsidised rate.
Mohammed, however, appealed for the provision of tractors and other farm inputs to support poor farmers.
Edited By: Nick Nicholas and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)
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