Niger Govt inaugurates 2021 fertilizer sales for farmers

 The Niger Government has began the official sales and distribution of fertilizer for the 2021 wet season at the cost of N8,000 per bag.

Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger, represented by his deputy Alhaji Ahmed Ketso, said the state government was launching the 2021 farming season 15,000 metric tonnes of fertilisers  o the 25 local government areas of the state

“So far, a total of 27 and half trucks of fertilisers have been delivered to designated government fertiliser stores across the 25 local government areas of the state for sale to farmers for the 2021 farming season,” he said.

”Government pegged the approved selling price per bag of the commodity at N8,000 for NPK and Urea fertilisers.

”This is aimed at encouraging small holder farmers to have access to vital inputs, in addition to expanding synergy with the private sector capacity to deliver and partake in the agricultural development of the state.

“Niger state under our leadership, will continue to sustain the arrangement of allowing the private sector to drive the process of direct procurement and distribution of fertiliser through their established networks.

“Government will continue to focus on subsidising production inputs to small scale farmers to ensure its availability and ease the access to genuine fertiliser products and other agricultural inputs at subsidised rates thereby curtailing the activities of middlemen,” he said.

He said that in addition to the procured 130 brand new tractors in 2018, government was reorganising it’s partnership with the private sector for an increased yield across the agricultural value chains in the state.

The governor said government had accessed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) facility for the development of some dilapidated agricultural infrastructures across the state.

“We are currently rehabilitating five irrigation schemes at Chanchaga, Agaie, Gbakogi, Tamanai, and Lioji and also upgrading farm institutes at Tegina, Kuta, Nasko and Bida.

“We have also established 50 hectares of oil palm plantation at Labozhi among others.

“We will continue to strive toward mitigating security challenges in the state and its repercussions on agriculture and food security.

“I appeal to our farmers and all residents in the state to, as a matter of responsibility, come forward with useful information on any suspicious activities or of any strange persons in their area to the nearest security operatives,” he said.

Earlier, Alhaji Zakari Jikantoro, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development said that the ministry, in implementing government’s policy in agriculture, will explore all possible options to leverage on the vast opportunities that abound in the state.

“In Niger state we have the comparative advantage in the production of stables such as rice, yam and other high value crops such as ginger, sesame, cashew and oil palm to facilitate agro industrialisation,” he said.

Alhaji Shehu Galadima, the state Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) appealed to the Federal Government to bring back subsidies on farm inputs to enable farmers sustain their farming activities.

“Government in the developed countries subsidise inputs to help farmers grow,” he said.

Galadima decried the increasing insecurity in the state which he said prevented farmers from going to their farms.

“Some of our farmers have been displaced from their ancestral homes by bandits, making them to live in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the state.

“As a result of the activities of hoodlums, our farmers have abandoned their agri-businesses,” he said.

He advised the government to train and arm the vigilantes and agro-rangers to work with the security agencies in order to bring normalcy in the rural communities.

Also, Malam Aliyu Mohammed, a farmer commended the state government for the gesture saying that a bag of fertiliser in the market was selling for between N8,500 and N10,000.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the farm inputs available to farmers during the flag off include fertilisers, hybrid premier seeds,  improved maize, rice and soybeans seeds. (NAN)