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CBN’s 2.15m fertiliser: Ministry yet to get locations as wet season approaches

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is yet to get the locations of the fertiliser recently donated by the Central Bank of Nigeria…

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is yet to get the locations of the fertiliser recently donated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to support food production.

Although the ministry received the handover letter of 2.15million bags of assorted fertiliser during a visit by the CBN governor, the actual locations of the commodity was not communicated to them, even as rain-fed agricultural activities have commenced in some parts of the country.

Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the fertiliser comprised of NPK, UREA and SSP, worth over N100 billion, putting the price of a bag at over N46,000.

It is also not clear whether the fertiliser would be distributed to farmers at a subsidised price or free of any charge.

The ministry said it would commence the distribution of the various assorted fertilisers as soon as its locations were disclosed.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, said, “As soon as we get the locations, which I am sure are spread across the country, we will swing into action.’’ He assured that it would be judiciously utilised and delivered to the intended farmers.

Some farmers who spoke with Daily Trust on Sunday are, however, concerned that it may not take place before the beginning of the rainy season, going by past experiences.

“How can the CBN announce the handover of 2.15million bags of fertiliser to the ministry without telling them where they are?  The bank should have sorted all of these before handing over the fertiliser. In fact, we should have seen them handing over physical fertiliser to the ministry from wherever they are kept rather than the CBN governor going to the ministry to handover a letter,” a 62-year-old farmer, Moses Avreson said.

Like the announcement of the release of 42,000 metric tonnes of grains from the strategic grains reserves made months ago, which is yet to be distributed, many fear that CBN’s announcement may be another gimmick, even as the wet season is fast approaching.

However, farmers’ leaders believe the apex bank’s contribution would increase food production capabilities, as well as encourage price stabilisation in the agricultural sector.

Ibrahim Kabiru, an architect and the national president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), while reacting to the development in a chat with Daily Trust on Sunday, described it as a welcome gesture.

“We welcome this development, especially as the CBN is giving the support to farmers through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, where the support will be institutionalized, unlike the case of the Anchor Borrowers Programme, which failed because it was not properly implemented,” he said.

Advising the government on how best the fertiliser should be distributed, the AFAN president urged the ministry to leverage on the current NAGS-AP programme being implemented on four crops; namely, wheat, rice, maize and cassava, supported by the African Development Bank (ADB).

“Due diligence is being ensured by using consultants to send messages to identified farmers, who are to be reached directly through redemption centres serviced by registered agro-dealers and the AFAN. Farmer and leaders at all levels are also present to monitor the distribution to real farmers regardless of membership to commodity associations,” he said.

He advised the government to approach the season with all seriousness in view of the country’s current food security situation.

“The target should solely be for the rainy season since the rains are already falling in some areas. The sub-national leadership, which is already involved in the quest for the attainment, should be fully involved in the implementation of the distribution package so that the programme will be evenly spread,” Kabiru said.

In another development, Senator Abubakar Kyari revealed that the ministry would also receive 500 tractors assembled by the John Deere Group in May and the rest in September 2024 to improve mechanised farming, increase production and achieve food and nutrition security.

The ministry recently signed in memorandum of understanding with the John Deere Group for a target of 2,000 tractors yearly for the next five years, but nothing tangible has happened.

In a recent meeting with the group in Abuja, the minister was unhappy that the tractors were not on ground despite months of the agreement. However, the John Deere Group want a more financial commitment to be able to deliver the tractors, but the ministry wants the tractors on ground before any financial commitment. How that will finally play out, Nigerians are watching, especially as previous arrangements with other manufactures did not end well.

However, Kyari acknowledged that to increase agricultural yields, there was a need for tractors, stressing that this is very important for the growth of the agricultural sector.

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that expectations are high among many farming communities as the wet season has already begun in some parts of southern states.

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