The Oasis Reporters
September 11, 2017
The President’s Senior Special Assistant (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu has sung a new song into the ears of Nigeria’s farmers, singing that they should expect 4 million bags of fertilizers as a precursor to a bumper harvest next year.
The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) has promised to deliver 4 million bags of 50kg Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK) fertilizer to farmers, at an affordable price before the year ends.
Garba Shehu disclosed this at the weekend on ‘Hannu Ya Dawa’, an interactive programme on Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN Kaduna.
He revealed that the projected delivery of the commodity (4 million bags of fertilizer) by December is in addition to the six million bags of 50kg fertilizers already sold to farmers since the Initiative commenced early this year.
Mr. Garba added that the 11 fertilizer blending plants in the country will be increased to 18 by the end of the year; which will in turn, provide direct employment to at least, 50,000 Nigerians.
“The problem of the shortage of fertilizers and its attendant high cost plaguing the nation’s agricultural production, seemingly intractable for decades, have been resolved following the successful execution of the mandate of the PFI.
“Since the implementation of the Initiative, the six million 50kg bags of NPK fertilizers were purchased by State governments and agro-dealers across the country,” he said.
The presidential spokesman noted that the production of locally-blended fertilizer had saved the Federal Government about $150 million this year, hitherto spent on foreign exchange; and N60 billion in budgetary provisions for fertilizer subsidy.
He added that the successful implementation of the PFI had made fertilizer available to Nigerian farmers at affordable prices and in time for the 2017 wet season farming.
“Last year, Daily Trust newspaper reported that a bag of 50kg NPK fertilizer was sold at N10, 900 in Benue State. Today the same commodity is being sold at about N6, 500 in different locations across the country, while the government-approved price is N5, 500.”
Quoting the same newspaper report, Mr. Shehu Garba noted that a bag of maize which was sold at N21, 000 last year is currently being sold at an average of N10, 000. But observers note that this could be due to this year’s harvest season which just commenced.
“This is an indication that the Initiative has enhanced food security as a result of the increase in food production. There is also a reduction in food-induced inflation while economic activities across the agriculture value chain are very impressive,” he said.
The claim by Garba Shehu that
the procurement of fertilizers was “seemingly intractable for decades” raised serious eyebrows in Kaduna , because the Fertilizer project of the Goodluck Jonathan administration was a masterclass, drawing world wide acclaim, and various countries from Africa, Latin America, Europe etc had come to understudy the E-Wallet system of fertilizer distribution pioneered by the administration. His Agriculture Minister, Prof. Adesina gained ascendancy to the headship of the African Finance and Development Bank, AfDB, with the active support of the current president, Muhammadu Buhari.
Additional reporting from Thewillnigeria.com