Some agriculture stakeholders have attributed the scarcity and increase in price of fertiliser to restriction of sales of certain brands in some states of the North East for security reasons.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), survey in North East states such as Yobe, Taraba, Bauchi, Adamawa, Gombe and Maiduguri, showed that some brands of fertilisers were restricted for sale by the military because they were used for Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).
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The stakeholders told NAN that the restriction was in good faith, however, farmers were not finding it easy securing the commodity, particularly urea in the open market.
Mr Stephen Maduwa, the Chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Adamawa, attributed the scarcity and high cost of fertiliser in the state to the ban of NPK and Urea by the security agencies.
Maduwa said the military authorities said the products were being used by insurgent to produce explosives.
“The scarcity situation is worrisome because it is also affecting government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme in the state,” Maduwa said.
Alhaji Usman Bapullo, the National Vice Chairman, National Association of Agro-Chemicals and Allied dealers, said that following the restriction, the cost of the commodity increased by 45 per cent.
He said that a 50kg bag of NPK, which used to sell for N4,300, now goes for N6,500, while Urea which, used to sell for N5,000, is now N7,000.
He however said there was liquid NPK and Urea, which had not been banned, but farmers in the state were not familiar with the liquid one.
Mr Solomon Kumangar, the Director-General, Media and Communication to Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa said the state government was aware of the ban, and was consulting with other affected states to find a way out.
In Yobe, the restriction on sales of fertiliser was also on security ground and had created scarcity of the product in the state.
Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, at a recent town hall meeting in Potiskum, said it took series of discussions between the state government and security organisations to lift the sanction on sales of NPK fertiliser.
“As for urea fertiliser, it is still banned for sale across the state for security reasons,” he said.
The governor said government had awarded contract for the supply of NPK fertiliser to the state.
Meanwhile, a bag of NPK is sold for between N7, 000 and N9, 000, depending on the distance and availability.
NAN reports that most farmers in the state depended on liquid fertiliser, which five litres sells for N25, 000.
Farmers in Borno, the state hardest hit by activities of insurgents are expressing concern over high cost of fertiliser, in spite of efforts of the state government.
A cross section of the farmers who spoke with NAN in Maiduguri and Jere local government areas of the state, said they bought the commodities at “very high’’ cost in the market.
Hussaini Usman, a rice farmer at Zabalmari village of Jere Local Government Area of the state, said the high cost of fertiliser was affecting his production.
Usman noted that a small size bag of SSP and NPK brand of fertiliser were sold at N2, 500 and N3, 000, as against the old price of N1, 000 and N2, 000.
Alhaji Hassan Muhammad, the Chairman, Rice Sellers and Processors Association in Borno, said that farmers registered under the union were not accessing fertiliser being distributed by the state government.
Muhammad advocated for a review of the fertiliser distribution channels to enable more framers benefit.
NAN reports that Borno State Government had last month distributed fertiliser, seeds and other inputs to 100, 000 displaced farmers for the 2019 cropping season.
Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno State, who spoke at the inauguration of the exercise, said the gesture was designed to assist farmers, enhance access to inputs and encourage agricultural activities.
Also, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had in June, distributed fertiliser and inputs to another set of 100, 000 displaced farmers for rainy season activities in the state.
FAO’s Country Representative, Suffyan Koroma, said that the gesture was part of a comprehensive programme designed to assist farmers with fertiliser, seeds, and other inputs.
Similarly, the Nigerian Army also distributed fertilisers, seeds and tractors to resettled farming communities in Guzamala local government area of the state.
In his comment on the development, Mr Maina Binus, the Programme Manager, Gombe State Agricultural Development Project (GSADP) said the high cost of fertiliser was as a result of high demand.
He however told NAN that by the time the state government concluded the resuscitation of its fertiliser blending plant, the problem would be addressed.
He said state government procured 3,600 metric tonnes and sold it at the cost of N5, 000 per bag across the 11 Local Government Area of the state.
Alhaji Sabitu Shehu, fertiliser dealer in Gombe town, attributed the high cost of the commodity to increase in transportation costs from Port-Harcourt to Gombe State.
He said they were now paying N520, 000 per truck as against the former N320,000 and selling 50kg bag of NPK fertiliser for N8,500 as against the N7,000 in 2018.
In Bauchi State, the Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Dr Yahaya Yusuf said farmers in the state never witnessed scarcity of fertiliser for the 2019 planting season.
He said that unlike the previous years when the commodity was allocated to groups and individuals, this time it was allocated through various farmers associations.
Also, the State Chairman, Gum Arabic Farmers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Bello Galoji, said the commodity was available at government sales depots and open market at controlled price.
He said that NPK brand was selling at N5, 500 per 50kg bag, while Urea costs N7, 500.
When NAN visited Bauchi State Agricultural Supply Company (BASAC), the General Manager, Alhaji Illiyasu Yakubu, who was the only official to talk was said to have traveled to Mecca on pilgrimage.
However, a source at the company told NAN on condition of anonymity that the company had enough fertiliser in stock.
“Even if you want 100 trucks of fertiliser and other inputs, they are available but are being sold on cash and carry basis and at controlled price.
“We have same in all our depots across the state and farmers can access them anytime,” he said.
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