A group of concerned football stakeholders, has announced the formation of an Association of Football Administrators in Nigeria (AFAN) to help set a standard for football administration in the country.
This is contained in a statement by Godwin Bamigboye, Chairman, Grassroots Sports and Marketing (GSM) Ltd and made available to newsmen on Saturday in Abuja.
Bamigboye, who doubles as the interim National Coordinator of AFAN, said the association was borne out of the need to set a standard for football administration in Nigeria.
“AFAN is an independent body that will be made up of football administrators at all levels.
“There is the need to set a standard for football administration in Nigeria and evolve a template for leadership recruitment into the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and States’ Football Associations.
“I have consulted with a number of football administrators and still reaching out to others in my capacity as interim national coordinator of the association, ” he said.
He expressed optimism that the formation of the association would serve as antidote to the rather poor football administration in the country, adding that it would unveil more of its plans in due course.
Some stakeholders in Biosafety Sector on Wednesday kicked against the amendment to the National Biosafety Management Agency Act ( NABDA), The stakeholders expressed their reservations on the bill at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Environment.
The bill was sponsored Sen.Yahaya Abdullahi.
Abdullahi had in the proposed amendment sought for strict regulation on foods that are genetically modified and perceived as health hazards .
He had specifically sought for labelling of Genetically Modified Foods (GMF) in the country for consumers to understand the difference between the GMF and natural ones.
He had recommended sanctions against violation of the proposed law.
However, at the public hearing, virtually all the stakeholders in the biosafety sector rejected the proposed legislation in separate submissions.
The Director’General of National Bio – Technology Development Agency ( NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha said the proposed amendment of the act was unnecessary .
According to him , NABDA and other relevant agencies have been carrying out the regulation being sought for in preventing consumption of toxic chemicals by Nigerians .
” There is no reason; there is no justification for the proposed legislation as NABDA has made significant achievements on agriculture and vaccines production towards checkmating consumption of toxic chemicals from modified foods and addressing the problem of insecurity .
” It is on this achievement that President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the bill now Act, making NABDA to embark on wide range of research work and accessing international grants for its scientifically and technologically driven bio – technology development ” he said .
The President of All Farmers Association in Nigeria ( AFAN) ,Mr Kabiru Ibrahim also rejected the bill, saying that Nigerian farmers were up to the responsibility of providing food sufficiency in the country .
The Executive Director, Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights, Mr. Frank Tiete , said accepting the proposal would amount to violation of treaty entered into by Nigeria through the existing Act with 173 other countries across the globe .
“The 173 countries have ratified the protocol that had been domesticated as law in Nigeria.
“There is absolutely no need for the amendment of this law.
“The are calls for amendment is simply open doors for confusion, open doors of vexations and frivolous gold digging litigation.
“An amendment in law and practice is as a result of where there is a mischief.
“Our submission is that the entirety of the proposed amendment is needless, it is inadvertently going to cause confusion, excite gold digging litigations.
“It will discourage scientists from innovation, biotechnology has helped the whole world,” he said.
Some members of the committee and Vice Chairman, Senators Hassan Hadeijia, Nnachi Michael among others also kicked against the bill.
Stakeholders in the agricultural sector across the South-West zone have expressed concern over the rising cost of fertilisers with its attendant low crop yield per hectare and shortage of food in Nigeria.
They spoke separately with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday, appealing to the three tiers of governments to take over direct supply and distribution of the product from private individuals and corporate groups.
In a survey conducted in Ibadan, Ado-Ekiti, Akure, Abeokuta, Osogbo and Ilorin, the respondents said that the situation, if not urgently checked, could lead to low usage of fertilisers, with low productivity of crops as a dire consequence.
In Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, a Crop farmer, Mr Olusayo Fadipe, described the situation of fertilisers, getting out of reach of the farmers, as worrisome.
Fadipe said that without the use of fertilisers, the expected crop yield would drop, resulting in reduced revenue for farmers.
According to him, any farmer, who manages to buy fertilisers at high cost, will have to build the increase into his selling price, thus making farm produce unaffordable for consumers, both individuals and corporate organisations.
Fadipe, therefore, called on fertiliser manufacturers in the country to work toward producing at maximum capacity.
“Governments, especially at the Federal and State levels, should subsidise the cost of fertilisers for the sake of affordability to farmers.
“Farmers’ cooperative societies should also be encouraged to establish fertiliser selling units, close to the farms, as logistics support for fertiliser distribution,” he said.
Another farmer, Prince David Ogundele, said that increase in the prices of fertilisers would lead to decrease in the harvest of crops and shortage of food for both human and animal consumption.
Ogundele said there would also be shortage of raw materials for industries, thereby resulting in unemployment and difficulty in refunding bank loans for farmers.
He encouraged the use of organic fertilisers, while calling on the Federal Government to take up the production and distribution of fertilisers without involvement of the middlemen.
“With fertiliser plants not in perfect working condition, the Federal Government should intervene in the interest of the farmers and of the country, because nobody can do without food,” he said.
Commenting, Mr Bode RajI, the Permanent Secretary, Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that the state government has a provision of 25 per cent subsidy on fertilisers for genuine farmers in the state.
According to Raji, fertiliser market has been deregulated in the country, implying that government is not directly involved in the distribution of the product.
“However, the state government is coming in to give assistance in the area of subsidy provision,” he said.
The permanent secretary acknowledged fertilisers as very critical to agriculture, without which, he said farm activities would not run well.
He said that the subsidy was to enable the farmers to access the product, even at exorbitant prices.
The state government, he said, through the ministry’s sister agency, Oyo State Agriculture Business Development Agency, already has genuine data of farmers in the state.
According to him, the ministry has also partnered with various farmers’ associations to make it easy to identify genuine farmers in every local government area.
Raji, however, appealed to farmers to be sincere with the government, advising them against reselling the subsidised fertilisers whenever they were supplied to them.
Also, an Agriculturist, Matilda Oyewole, identified fertiliser as one of the key inputs in agriculture, especially in Nigeria.
“So, there is a direct proportional increase in the cost of farm produce as prices of fertilisers increase.
“This is because it affects the cost of production in agriculture.
The more the cost of production goes up, the more the selling price goes up.
“And most times, fertilisers are difficult to get, as they don’t get to the grassroots farmers easily.
When they, eventually get to them, they are too expensive to bear b.
“Fertilisers are being sold between N25,000 and N45,000, depending on the type of fertiliser you purchased,” Oyewole said.
Also, Mr John Olateru, the Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Oyo State chapter, attributed the increasing cost of fertilisers to the high exchange rate of foreign currencies.
“This has caused a lot of instability in the prices of fertilisers; because everything is following the trend of the exchange rate.
This is an unfortunate situation.
“Furthermore, the cost of diesel is not helping matters at all,” Olateru said.
Commenting, Dr Kola Farinloye, an Associate Professor of Agriculture and Forestry at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Ondo State, said a premium has yet to be paid on how farmers could gain access to fertilisers on time.
“All efforts must be made to ensure that fertilisers are available to our farmers.
“The situation is harsh due to high cost of importation, as Nigeria imports 60 to 70 per cent of fertilisers available in the market.
“The exchange rate, as well as other factors, are reasons why fertilisers are very expensive and beyond the reach of an average farmers.
“Definitely, high cost of fertilisers or scarcity of it, will lead to high cost of farm produce,” Farinloye said.
In Ado-Ekiti, stakeholders wondered about the nonexistent of, at least, a fertiliser plant in any part of Ekiti.
They said that with the agrarian nature of the state and the fact that most of its residents are into, either subsistence or market farming, the state should have a fertiliser plant.
According to them, having such a plant in the state will ensure ready availability of the product and reduce its cost, which is currently staggering.
A peasant farmer, Mr Joel Akanbi, said that the state had left its farmers to the mercy of fertiliser merchants, who engage in shrouded deals.
This, he said, could affect food security, as farmers would have to run at losses.
Another farmer, Mrs Folakemi Kayode, urged the government to, in the alternative, guarantee large supplies at cheaper price, so as to checkmate activities of those hiking price indiscriminately.
A raw food seller and farmer, Mrs Kemi Oluwaleke, said that an urgent intervention from the government was needed in all matters relating to fertilisers, if bumper harvest, especially during the current rainy season, could be achieved.
According to her, fertiliser is the main problem of farmers, as a chunk of the profit made from planting and harvesting, is taken away by too much of hard labour and the process of seeking alternative means.
Contributing, Mr Oluropo Dada, the Chairman, AFAN in Ido-Osi Local Government area, also called for the establishment of, at least, one fertiliser plant in any part of the state to make it accessible and affordable.
Dada said that farmers were no longer finding it comfortable to buy the commodity at an open markets and stalls, due to its exorbitant price.
The chairman regretted that many farmers had, either abandoned their farms or abandoned the use of fertilisers to source for alternatives such as cow dug and goat faeces, among others.
“We no longer buy fertilisers for our farms, because they are too expensive for us to afford.
“For example, when a fertiliser that is meant to be given to us at subsidised price, is being sold for almost N30,000, is to say the least, unfair.
“We also do not want the Federal Government to give out fertilisers through government officials or intermediaries anymore.
“Farmers from their respective state and local governments have registered their names at the national level, so the fertilisers should be given to us directly at reduced cost,” he said.
In his remarks, Mr Olatunji Ayegbusi, Chairman, Farmers Association in Ikole Local Government area, urged the government to focus more on the issue of fertilisers and ensure that it was not politicised.
Commenting, the Ekiti Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Daramola Adeyemi, identified the nation’s policy issue on fertilisers and the market fall as the major reasons for high cost of the commodity.
Adeyemi said that initially, before the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of former President Goodluck Jonathan and former Minister of Agriculture, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, government was involved in the procurement and distribution of fertilisers, but later the policy changed.
He explained that after the administration, President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, after studying the programme and discovered that certain things were not working well and that the policy was not sustainable, it suspended it.
Adeyemi said under a new arrangement, government pegged its price at a particular rate.
According to him, the problem now is the agro dealers handling purchase and distribution, who came up with production cost, different from state to state.
“Not all states have blending machines, hence, the disparity in the prices of fertilisers, in spite of the fact that the price is pegged at a reasonable amount by the Federal Government.
“The states that have blending machines procured cheaper fertilisers than states without any of the machines.
“For instance, Ekiti does not have a blending machine; they took the produce to Kaduna for blending and by the time it is blended and transported back here, the cost of transportation will be added, which makes for the high cost,” he said.
Adeyemi also identified the War as another contributing factor to the rise in the prices of fertilisers.
“But, having realised this, the ministry still supports farmers in term of inputs at subsidised rate, under some special programmes, as inaugurated by the government.
“The Federal Government is no longer involved in the procurement and distribution; the only thing government does for farmers is to provide special interventions and supports.
“This is where the issue of middlemen came in; because some rich men mopped up to resell at exorbitant prices,” he said.
Another agriculture expert, Mr James Ibitoye, said that government needed to initiate a bottom-up approach by further registering and selling to farmers.
Ibitoye urged the government to organise seminars for farmers and make use of registered extension agents and facilities, getting and analysing feedback from the farmers.
According to him, there are paper farmers, who take advantage of the subsidised fertilisers to resell them to the real farmers at exorbitant prices.
On the way out, he called for price control and regulatory agencies, branding of the government’s subsidised fertilisers and the creation of designated payment units.
In his reactions, Olabode Adetoyi, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security in Ekiti, said that the present administration in the state would do everything possible to return agriculture to the front burner.
According to Adetoyi, the drive to regain the status of the state as a food basket of the nation, made the government to adopt agriculture as one of its five pillars.
With this in mind, he said, the state government had always been protecting farmers’ interest at all times, promising that Gov. Kayode Fayemi-led administration would not relent in this regard.
Adetoyi, however, advised famers to step up patronage of the government’s agro outlets, where they could buy at controlled prices.
This, he said, was to avoid falling into the hands of those sabotaging the government’s efforts.
Meanwhile, in Akure, capital of Ondo State, an Agronomist, Mr Clement Emiju, told NAN that the few available fertilisers were not affordable to an average farmers.
Emiju said, “a bag of fertiliser now costs between N23,000 and N25,000, which is much higher than what we used to have in recent past.
” He said it was worrisome that there was no longer subsidy on fertilisers by the government.
“You know you can’t create land and to be able to use the little land you have used repeatedly, you need fertilisers.
“When you cultivate a piece of land repeatedly, there will be depletion of the soil nutrients and you start looking for fertilisers here and there and when you eventually see it, the cost is exorbitant,” he said.
Emiju, who specialises in cassava, yam and maize, said he had, however, shifted his cultivation to groundnut and cowpea due to the inadequacy or non-availability of fertilisers in the state.
“I moved to groundnut and cowpea to complement my main area of agriculture, because they don’t require much fertilisers like others.
“With cowpea and groundnut, apart from the fact that they don’t require much fertilisers, you can plough them back to the soil for soil nutrients,” he said.
Emiju, therefore, appealed to the government to find means of making fertilisers available and at affordable prices, in order to ensure food security.
“We will only appeal and advise government to subsidise fertilisers and make them available to farmers since we cannot create land and we can only use the little we have to make more yields for food to be available and to make agriculture profitable.
“As it is, no poor or peasant farmer can afford the cost of the available fertiliser,” he said.
The agronomist also advised farmers not to depend all the time on inorganic fertilisers, saying: “Though, they have faster results, they are not environmental friendly like organic fertilisers.
“An organic fertiliser requires large quantity in the soil, but its efficiency in the soil is much pronounced.
“Organic fertiliser stabilises soil temperature and it is richer.
It contains major and minor nutrients,” he said.
In Abeokuta, Prof. Jimoh Olanite of the Department of Pasture and Range Management, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNNAB), said that cropping activities would be almost impossible, particularly, in the Northern part of the country without fertiliser.
“In the Southern part of the country, one can still get some yield, even without applying fertilisers, especially if the soil has not been overused, because the soil, compared to the Northern part, is rich.
“However, there is need for use of fertiliser across the nation, because research has shown that the more fertiliser you apply, up to a certain point, the more yield of crop you are likely to get, especially for crops like maize and other cereals, which require fertilisers like Nitrogen,” he said.
The lecturer noted with concern that Nigeria had continued to rank among the countries with low use of fertilisers in the African continent.
According to him, the average use of fertilisers per hectare ranges between 100kg and 200kg per hectare in some African countries, while the average use of the product on land in Nigeria is about 50kg per hectare.
Olanite said there were about 10 fertilisers producing companies in Nigeria, adding that majority of them were not operating optimally.
“Our problem is not lack of fertiliser producing firms, because we have about 10 of them.
“Nigeria’s projected fertiliser need has been put at between five and seven million metric tonnes annually, which the companies should be able to produce for the country’s consumption and also have excess for export.
“The problem, however, is that many of these firms don’t produce up to half of their installed capacities.
“The newly established Dangote factory in Lagos, with a capacity for three million metric tonnes per annum, for instance, is reported to be producing about half of that figure,” he said.
Olanite also said that Nigeria had continued to depend on importation of raw materials to produce its fertiliser blends.
Noting that Nigeria had comparative advantage in Nitrogen and Limestone, he said the country was still largely depending on importation of raw materials like phospate and potash.
He said that various government’s interventions, like subsidising the price of fertilisers for farmers, had often been hijacked by “political farmers” .
Olanite, therefore, called on the FG to come up with an effective monioring mechanism to ensure that the subsidised fertilisers get to the real farmers for increased productivity.
In his comments,Mr Olusegun Dasaolu, the Deputy National President of AFAN, noted that the situation had continued to hinder the productive capacity of farmers across the nation.
“The resultant effect of the high cost of fertiliser is food scarcity, because farmers have no access to fertilisers that could assist them in planting and making their crops grow well.
“Fertiliser is one key product that assists farmers in growing their produce, particularly, in the Northern part of the country, where they are producing most of the foods.
“In the Southern part of the country, our soil is richer and the quantity of the product needed is comparatively low.
“But, in the North, much is needed, because that is where the bulk of the food is grown.
“Unfortunately, the prices have continued to soar, as a 50kg bag of NPK, mostly used by Nigerian small holder farmers, is currently about N22,000, while a bag of urea fertiliser is about N19,000. “As far as we are concerned, as a body of farmers, the high cost of available fertiliser in the market now is not palatable and it is not good for a viable business, as far as agricultural business is concerned.
“The situation has forced many farmers out of business and the entire country is suffering for it,” he said.
Dasaolu, however, expressed hope that prices of fertilisers might be forced down by the time the newly established Dangote factory finally began to operate in its full capacity.
He called on the Federal Government to come up with policies, directly targeted at making fertilisers available to farmers at affordable prices.
Contributing, Mr Samuel Adeogun, the Ogun Programme Coordinator of the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), said that the rising prices of fertiliser was a reflection of the increased cost of its production.
Adeogun said: “Once there is an increase in the price of fertiliser, it means that the cost of production has gone up.
“Once the cost of production goes up, that automatically translates to increase in prices of farm produce, because farmers, since they are into business, must have to recover their cost.
” He said that there had been a global surge in fertiliser prices due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
According to him, it is inevitable that the prices of fertilisers will rise in Nigeria since the country depends on importation of raw materials for the production of fertilisers.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of AFAN in Osun, Alhaji Sulaiman Araokanmi, said that farmers in the state were buying fertilisers at exorbitant prices, which in turn had affected the selling price of their farm produce.
Araokanmi said that the government’s subsidised fertilisers were not getting to the farmers.
“In the four years, I have been AFAN Chairman in Osun, we have never seen or got fertilisers supplied to farmers in the state from the Federal Government.
“At a point, I went to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to solicit assistance for farmers in Osun, but I was told that fertilisers were not available,” he said.
The AFAN chairman said that the Dangote fertilisers, promised farmers, were also not available in the market.
Araokanmi said that the fertilisers, which farmers were using for their crops, were bought from the private business owners in the open market and sold to them at very exorbitant prices.
Also, Mr Folarin Akanni, a farm input dealer in Osogbo, linked the high cost of the commodity to the high dollar exchange rate and the fact that most fertilisers were being imported.
Akanni said that in addition to the dollar exchange, getting fertilisers supply was also becoming very difficult because of the ongoing war.
He said that at the moment, only urea fertiliser was still available in the market at the rate of N25,000 upwards.
According to him, the most popular and best used fertiliser, NPK Golden, which is no longer available in the market, was last sold between N26,000 and N27,000. Akanni said the production of Dangote fertilisers had been halted for a while, adding that it was not available anywhere in the Nigerian market.
Similarly, Chief Julius Akinwande, the AFAN Chairman in Ife Central Local Government, said that increase in prices of the product had affected farm produce in the country.
Akinwande said that before now, farmers bought fertilisers directly from the goverment at cheaper rates, but there was nothing like that again.
“The government’s subsidised fertiliser is no longer within the reach of the farmers,” he said.
Akinwande called on government to make it available for farmers at the grassroots at subsidised rate with other insecticides, for adequate food production.
In Ilorin, Malam Ahmed Shaba of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kwara chapter, said that some farmers, due to the rising costs of normal fertilisers, had started using fake fertilisers.
Shaba said that the fake ones, cost as low as N9,000, while original fertiliser cost N25,000 per bag.
According to him, many fraudulent individuals have taken advantage of the fertiliser scarcity to blend and package different substances into sacks as fertilisers.
These substances, he said, would later turn into sand after some time.
“We appeal to the Federal Government to come to the aid of farmers, so that we can get access to fertilisers for our farms.
“This will, in turn, help food security across the country,” he said.
He warned that application of fake and substandard fertilisers on farmlands could destroy the soil and reduce crop yield, as well as affect human health negatively.
Shaba, therefore, advised the government to urgently intervene to save the nation from imminent food shortage.
Also, Malam Ahmed Saliu, the Zonal Chairman of Amana Farmers and Grain Supply Association of Nigeria, said that non availability of the product had affected the output of many farmers.
Saliu added that non-availabiliy of fertilisers would affect the production of many commodities in the country.
He urged government at all tiers to assist farmers in making fertilisers and other farm inputs available and affordable to enable them produce food in large quantities.
The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has resolved to settle the crisis rocking the Edo chapter of the association.
At a meeting convened in Benin on Tuesday, Mr Harrison Okpamen, Chairman of the Ad hoc committee set up to midwife the conciliation, appealed to all aggrieved parties to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign.
Okpamen urged all factions in the chapter to come together and form a formidable force that would benefit the members.
Many opportunities, he said, had been lost by members as a result of the lingering rancour.
“AFAN is a big association and we cannot allow it to be destroyed.
AFAN Edo cannot afford to lose benefits again.
“Welfare of members should be our priority as we definitely need support from government and donor agencies to improve farming.
“To achieve this, we will need to jettison our ego and remain selfless in our services,” he said.
The chairman of the reconciliatory committee said the committee had a limited time to settle the dispute and put in place a new executive council that would work for all.
Mr Peter Aikhumobhogbe, thenPermanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, advised the committee to engage leaders of all factions in their reconciliatory move.
AFAN, the permanent secretary, said must be strong or else members would remain to loose many things.
He noted that no matter the settlement, members would still need to tolerate one another for there was nobody without weakness.
Farmers in Nigeria have bemoaned the high cost of fertiliser and expressed concern that the situation is threatening food security in the country.
The farmers who expressed their worries in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in the South-South, said government withdrawal of subsidy had aggravated the situation.
They called on government to intervene adopt measures that would ensure that the product got to genuine farmers to gurantee increase in food production and food security.
The Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Delta, Chief Sylvanus Ejezie, said fertiliser and agrochemicals which aided farmers to achieve good produce had become too exorbitant.
He told NAN in Asaba that the push and efforts by government to address food insecurity would not be realised in the near future unless urgent steps were taken to address the rising cost of the product.
He said that government subsidy on fertiliser had been hijacked by “political farmers” who presented themselves as middlemen between fertiliser companies and the farmers.
“We source our fertilisers from Onitsha market because there is fertiliser plant in Delta State.
“The prices of fertiliser and agrochemicals have risen so high that we cannot afford the quantity that we require to cultivate many hectares this year.
“Fifty kilogram of NPK fertiliser currently is going for N17,000; urea is N25,000 while a liter of organic fertiliser is sold for N6,000. “This year, I cultivated 40 hectares of rice in Owens River Basin at Ngegu, Illah, and Oko Omuluigboma.
I also cultivated 35 hectares for the wet season,” he said.
He said farmers in Delta had started harvesting but were not expecting bumper harvest because they were not able to apply all the needed inputs because of their high cost.
“The implication is clear.
At present a bag of local 50kg rice is sold for between N23,000 and N25,000 but after we factor in the cost of production, the price will increase.
“So, as you can see, the food security plan of government is threatened because we can not produce much rice; other crops are affected due to the rising cost of production in the country,” he said.
Ejezie appealed to government to deal directly with real farmers through their various associations in fertilisers and agrochemical supply and distribution to achieve planed objectives.
In Calabar, Mr Bassey Etim, Programme Manager, Cross River Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), painted a gloomy picture of rice harvest in the state this year due to high cost of fertiliser.
Etim said that the product was now out of reach of most farmers in the state as the cost of urea fertiliser that was sold for between N16,000 to N18,000 per 50kg bag was now sold for N26,000. “With the high cost, poor farmers in the rural areas won’t be able to boost their yield,” he lamented.
The ADP programme manager said that Cross River has no fertiliser plant and that they get stock from River state.
On his part, Mr. Iwara Iwara, Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Cross River, said unavailability and high cost of fertiliser was scuttling Nigeria’s agricultural goal of food sufficiency.
Iwara said it would be very difficult to guarantee bumper harvest which would in turn ensure food security in the nearest future if farmers could not get the product.
He said that the product was sold from N18,000 upwards per medium bag, depending on the type.
“This price is almost beyond the reach of an average farmer in the state, meaning that we still have a long way to go if we must ensure food security in the near future,” he noted.
Similarly, Mr Emmanuel Odey, a rice farmer in Ogoja said: “Here a medium size bag of fertiliser is between N20,000 and N30,000, depending on the quality and composition of the product.
“Most farmers here borrow to do the labour in their farms and before it gets to the time to apply fertiliser, they are already out of cash and with the high cost of fertiliser the situation is worse.
“So many of them just leave the farms like that and at the end during harvest, the productivity is very low.
” To tackle the problem, the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Akwa Ibom called on government to retore subsidy on fertiliser to reduce farmers’ burden as the price of the product was beyond their reach.
The AFAN Chairman in the state, Mr Bassey Inwang who made the call, said that farmers in the state were buying the product at a very high cost and that it was affecting their yields.
He said that they were buying the product directly from the open market without any subsidy by government.
“We do not enjoy subsidy on fertiliser.
The Federal, State and Local Governments should collaborate to end this high cost of fertiliser as is affecting food production.
“Government should reintroduce subsidy as it was in those good years of 2012, 2013 and 2014 to help farmers,” he said.
However, Mr Johnny Udo, Managing Director and Chief Executive, Greenwell Technologies Fertiliser Blending Operations, Uyo, attributed the high cost of the product to the high cost of raw materials.
Udo, a Chemical Engineer, said the cost of running the bleding plant had increased tremendously as about 400 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) was used every two days at the cost of N800 per litre.
He stated that apart from high cost of diesel, other raw materials were expensive as they were imported from Ukraine and Russia now engaged in war.
“For instance, a litre of diesel last year was about N250 and today it is N800 per litre.
The cost of two major raw materials for blending fertiliser is very high than what it was last year,” Udo said.
He said that the private company had a production capacity of about 64, 000 metric tonnes per year, but could hardly meet up due to the present economic situation in the country.
He urged governments at all levels to do something urgently as there might be serious food scarcity in the country next year.
A distributor of fertiliser and agro-chemicals in Port Harcourt, Mr Godwin Akandu, said that there was no government intervention in fertiliser procurement for farmers in the state.
NAN reports that Indorama is a major fertiliser production company in Rivers with a production capacity of 23,000 tonnes of ammonia and 4,000 tonnes of granular urea per day.
Notore is another fertiliser blending company in the state with a production capacity of over 2,000 metric tonnes of NPK per day.
Akandu who is also the Chairman of Etche Farmers Cooperative Union lamented the high cost of the product in the state.
“The cost of fertiliser is not stable; it fluctuates on weekly basis.
“For instance, last week, Indorama sold urea for N22,000 per bag in the open market.
The price may change in the coming weeks.
“I think that the exchange rate of the Naira to the Dollar is a determinant factor on production cost and market pricing of fertilisers,” he added.
Mr Edison Mba, a farmer and Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (ALFAN), Eleme branch, said farmers in the state had continued to suffer high cost of fertiliser.
According to him, the situation had resulted in high cost of staple foods items.
Also, Addullahi Muhammed, Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Edo North Senatorial District, said government had not been subsidising fertiliser for farmers in the state.
Muhammed said it had remained difficult for farmers to access the product in the state.
He told NAN in Auchi that fertiliser was being sold at the rate of N16,500 per bag, adding that farmers in the area could not afford to buy it.
“Government has not made fertiliser available to farmers, let alone subsidising it.
The fertiliser farmers are buying in the market is sold by private vendors.
“No fertiliser supply was coming directly from the federal or state government to farmers in the state,” Muhamned said.
He added that the state fertiliser company at Auchi was not producing, and farmers in the senatorial district found it difficult to buy the product.
The AFAN chairman blamed the rising cost of fertiliser on inadequate production of the product.
He, however, urged government to do its best to make the product available to farmers in the country at subsidised rate.
“Increased production of fertiliser will make the product more available and force the price down “There must be sufficient production to enable farmers to have access to fertiliser,” he said Farmers in Bayelsa have also continued to bemoan the rising cost of the product and said the development was inimical to the country’s policy on food security.
A cassava farmer, Esther Etido, wondered why government that urged Nigerians to embark on farming had not taken steps to ensure that fertiliser and other farm inputs were available and affordable.
“Many people heeded the call to go into farming to boost food production only to be abandoned.
Soon after planting, I was told that a bag of NPK fertilizer was being sold at N30,000. “I could not afford it and had to do without it.
The next option was to use organic fertiliser and the place where they rear cattle is too far for me to get cow dung.
“I thank God because the Niger Delta soil is naturally fertile.
I still had a good harvest without fertiliser,” she said.
For another respondent, Epegu Ceaser, the exhorbitant cost of fertiliser spells doom for plantain and banana farmers who used to adopt shifting cultivation and leave lands fallow for several years.
“The use of fertiliser is now a necesssity because land owners who lease land to farmers no longer allow the land to fallow for years.
“This is because many more people are now farming; so the pressure for the land is much and that is why fertilliser is needed.
“If you manage and buy fertiliser and suckers at very high prices, definitely the produce will be sold at higher prices for you to make reasonable profit,” he said.
Mrs Theresa Ebiowei, a garri seller, attributed the current high cost of the staple food to the high cost of fertiliser.
“The farmers complain seriously about the scarcity and high cost of fertiliser and that is why they sell their produce at high prices.
“You know garri processing is also labour-intensive; that is why a “painter” measure goes for N1,000. “In previous years at this time, there used to be a glutt and it is usually sold for between N700 and N800 a painter,” Ebiowei said.
Some farmers in the South East have decried the high cost of fertiliser in the country saying they have resorted to other sources of manure for their crops.
The farmers expressed their dismay in a News Agency of Nigeria survey on the rising cost of fertiliser and its effects on farm produce in the country.
In Enugu State, the Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Mr. Romanus Eze, says many farmers in the state have resorted to the use of dungs as a means of fertilizing their crops.
NAN reports that a 50kg bag of NPK 15-15-15 sells at N30, 000 while 50kg bag of Urea sells at N22, 000. The AFAN chairman said that majority of the farmers in the state were unable to procure fertilisers in the 2022 farming season, a situation he said, affected crop yield in the area.
He said that the prevailing circumstance could affect government’s food security programme.
Eze said that farmers in the state relied on the open market for their fertiliser needs as there was no such arrangements by the state government.
“The cost of fertiliser is well beyond what a peasant can afford and this has greatly affected crop yield this year.
“There are no arrangements for fertilizer distribution by any tier of government to farmers in the state and this made our farmers to rely on the open market at exorbitant prices,” he said.
According to him, a hectare of land consumes four bags of fertilizer which is beyond the reach of an average farmer.
Eze said that the farmers were forced to rely on alternatives such as animal droppings or waste.
He appealed to the government to come up with functional fertiliser plants in order to ameliorate the difficult situation the farmers were faced with.
Also, a farmer, Mrs Ifeoma Nwachukwu, said that the high cost of fertiliser affected her crop.
Nwachukwu, a maize and cassava farmer, said that the 2022 farming season had been the worst in her life time in terms of crop yield.
“My crops, especially, maize, did so badly this year because I had no money to purchase fertilizer.
“It also affected most farmers and that is why corn is very expensive this year,” Nwachukwu said.
Another farmer, Mr Nwede Ukandu, said that he resorted to the use of liquid fertilizer which he bought at N4,000 in less than one liter bottle.
In Imo, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Berth Okorochukwu said his ministry had written a proposal to the state governor for the approval of 100,000 bags of NPK fertiliser for farmers in the state.
Okorochukwu, who spoke through the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Nonye Edomobi, said an initial proposal for 200,000 bags was made but was reduced to the current figure due to the increase in price of fertiliser.
He said the state government last distributed fertilisers to farmers two years ago.
While noting that the state presently does not have a fertiliser blending plant, he admitted that the delay in the distribution of fertilisers to farmers could further result in food shortage.
“In this part of the country, we depend on rainfall for agricultural production.
Timing in providing inputs is necessary but unfortunately, one cannot do anything because it involves huge amount of money.
“Our governor is farmer friendly and we know he will do something soonest,” the commissioner said.
He said when approved, the fertilisers will be subsidized at 20 per cent price reduction to farmers, which still depends on the state governor.
He further disclosed that the ministry was planning an enumeration of farmers in the state, noting that it was still operating on the previous data of 333, 000 registered farmer groups.
“At the moment, we are conducting enlightenment campaigns to let all farmers in the state know that all hands must be on deck to overcome the problem of food shortage in the country.
“We have scaled up our extension services to farmers and presently, encouraging people to go into bag planting even at the corridor of their houses like vegetables, yam and other crops,” he added.
A farmer and Managing Director of ND Farms, Mr Ndubuisi Orie, said he had resorted to poultry manure in his farm as a result of the price increase of fertiliser.
Ndubuisi, who cultivates cassava, yam, pepper, cucumber, cocoyam, maize and economic trees, said he had never received fertiliser from the state government.
“I will be happy, if the state government provides me with fertiliser.
“Although, I don’t use fertiliser much, I used to access it from the open market.
The last one I bought some months ago was N10, 000,” he said.
Also speaking, the state Chairman of AFAN, Dr Ayo Enwerem, described the fertiliser situation in the state as “chaotic”.
“We are just buying at any amount in the market and we are not getting the real stuff.
“We buy up to N15,000 per bag, but that is not the problem.
The problem is that the ones we buy are not the real stuff,” he said.
He called on the state and Federal Governments to come to the rescue of farmers in the state in the area of inputs, agro chemicals, seeds and grants.
In Abia, some farmers have expressed concern over the soaring price of fertiliser, which currently revolves around N24,000 per bag.
They feared that the development would lead to food shortage in the country, if urgent steps were not taken to reverse the trend.
Speaking in separate interviews with NAN, they called on the Federal and State Governments to subsidise the commodity to make it affordable to average farmer in the country.
Mrs Goodness Nzeadibe, a farmer, said she had poor yield in 2021 because she could not afford to buy enough fertiliser for her farm.
Nzeadibe said that she bought a bag of fertiliser at N24,000 recently.
She expressed worry that the exhorbitant price of the commodity would hinder bumper harvest this year.
“The little quantity of fertiliser I bought last year due to the high cost of fertiliser did not give the desired yield.
“I believe this is the experience of most farmers, who cannot afford to buy enough fertiliser at the current price.
“Unfortunately, it is difficult to enhance product yield without using fertiliser.
“Federal Government should look into this matter and subsidise fertiliser to enable the average farmer to buy the quantity they need for their crops,” Nzeadibe said.
Also, Mr Rufus James said that the current cost of fertiliser posed serious threat to achieving food sufficiency in the country and called for government’s immediate intervention.
James said that many farmers were finding it increasingly difficult to buy the quantity of fertiliser they required.
Mr Geoffrey Nwobilor said that because of the exhorbitant cost of fertiliser, he had resorted to using animal droppings as manure in his farm.
According to him, the droppings have become an alternative for many farmers in Abia, who cannot afford the current price of fertiliser.
Nwobilor said that the sudden rise in the demand for droppings had resulted in its scarcity and price increase.
“It is now difficult to get enough quantity of droppings from my supplier,” he said.
The respondents therefore appealed to the Federal Government to evolve policies and programmes that would give farmers access to incentives to boost productivity.
It is a similar situation in Ebonyi as agricultural experts in the state have revealed that continual Increase in price of fertilisers and other farm inputs, would lower food productivity.
The experts said that cost effect of the product was being transfered to farm produce gradually.
Mr Hygnus Agbo, a farmer, said that both commercial and domestic farmers, needed fertiliser to grow their crops, especially on lands that were not productive as they need more to make it productive.
“Food shortage may occur, if the surge is not checked,” Agbo advised.
Another farmer, Mrs Virginia Nwali, said implications of increase in high cost of fertiliser would also affect farmers and communities.
According to Nwali, if the trend is extended, estimated number of undernourished people will also increase.
Another Agric Expert, Mr Alibeze Uzor, explained that the supply disruptions, affordability and availability to farmers had been amplified by the war in Ukraine.
Uzor said the risk of this was that prices were anticipated to remain high, until supply returns to international markets from Russia and Belarus.
“Fertiliser prices rise in response to the war in Ukraine, reflecting the impact of economic sanctions and disruptions.
“And continual Increase in prices of fertiliser will lower food productivity if the affliction is not checked,”Uzor said.
Meanwhile, Mr Ejike Aluobu, a farmer, said that the soaring prices of fertiliser were driven by surge input costs and supply disruptions.
Aluobu described the trend of increase in prices of fertiliser as “plague” on farm produce and farmers.
Mr Ezekiel Igboji, State Coordinator, Organic Association of Nigeria, Ebonyi branch, called for appropriate authorities in charge, to identify real farmers for proper distribution when federal government supplies fertiliser.
Igboji alleged that the products were mostly distributed to wrong people who were not farmers because of preference interest.
On the prices of fertiliser, Mr Daniel Okafor, fertiliser dealer and seedlings at New Market, said that prices of 50 kilogram of fertiliser was sold between N20, 000 and N30 000, depending on the brand.
“NPK fertiliser (golden and gold) 20:10:10, are sold between N25, 000 and N28, 000 per 50kg bag.
“While NPK 27:13:13 fertiliser is sold at N30, 000 per 50kg and Urea fertiliser N20, 000 per 50kg but previously was sold between N11, 000 and N20, 000.
Alhaji Maigari Abdullahi-Dakingari, the Kebbi State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, says that the state government has bought 128 trucks of fertiliser for the 2022 wet-farming season.
He said this while briefing journalists in his office at the State Secretariat in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital .
The commissioner said that the fertiliser would be distributed to all the 225 wards across the state, assuring them that each ward would be supplied with 250 bags of the commodity.
According to him, each bag of fertiliser costs government over N23,000 but it will be sold to farmers in Kebbi at a subsidised rate of N15,000 per bag.
Abdullahi-Dakingari added that the government had formed committees at both local government and ward levels who were saddled with the responsibility of distributing the commodity to farmers down the ladder across the state.
“Our intention is that smallholder farmers can get the commodity at subsidised rates without hitches, especially, those at the grassroots level.
This fertilisers will be distributed to all the 225 wards across the state with each ward getting 250 bags.
“Our primary concern is to prevent unpatriotic persons from diverting the commodity and in essence enable our peasant farmers get the commodity with less difficulty.
This fertiliser is not for sale outside Kebbi State but it is procured to be sold primarily to our smallholder farmers,” he said.
He identified members of the local government committees to include: Commissioner as Chairman and where there is no commissioner, the special adviser will serve as the Chairman”, members of the state assembly, council chairmen, APC party Chairmen, and permanent Secretaries in the the local government.
Others, he said, were; Director of Agric.
, Director of Social Welfare in the local government areas, representatives of AFAN, all security agencies in the local government, representatives of religious organisations and APC women leaders of the local government among others.
The Commissioner noted that the large and medium scale farmers and all other stakeholders would be taken care of at the state level.
“At the same time, at the state level, we will be servicing the large and medium scale farmers including stakeholders.
Every section in government will be taken care of by the state committee and FASCOM,” he said.
He recalled that the state government had been buying fertiliser annually for both wet and dry season farming for onward sale to farmers across the state since its inception in 2015 with a view to boosting agricultural activities thereby facilitating national food security.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, has re-assured farmers of the Federal Government’s commitment to support with mechanised equipments to promote Agricultural development for a sustainable economy.
Abubakar gave this assurance at the maiden edition of the West Africa Agro- Fair 2022 conference organised by the Afrinex West Africa Limited in collaboration with various stakeholders on Thursday in Abuja.
The News Agency of NIgeria reports that the theme of the 3-day event is “Promoting Sustainable Economic Development through Mechanised Agriculture .
The minister stressed that the event targeted at promoting mechanisation and funding of Agriculture, creating new market and partnership for exhibitors subsequently promoting agricultural development for a sustainable economic development.
“It also complements President Muhammadu Buhari’s action plan on food security, economic development and job creation.
”This will avail participants with the opportunity to introduce their products and services, make contacts with leading Agricultural manufacturers across the world and platform for new engagements.
“It will drive Investment into Agricultural sector, provide opportunity for youths and improve national economic growth for families,” he said.
According to him, it is pertinent to note that there is a nexus between technological growth and food security.
“Modern technological food equipments are meant to provide efficiency in production and processing , while Nigerian farmers have used rudimentary equipments over the years with little productivity.
“The Government is working with local and international companies to engage in bi-lateral and multilateral agreements, aimed at providing basic Agricultural machineries for our farmers.
” About 10,000 tractors and 50,000 processing equipments are expected to be imported and will be distributed to all local governments across the country which will create hundreds of jobs.
“The government is doing everything possible to increase the number of tractors in the country to be made available especially to small holder farmers,” he said.
‘According to him, agricultural sector is a fundamental driver of the economic diversification and growth, agriculture is the only sector with endless resources and we can never move away from Agriculture,” he added.
The President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Dr Farouk Rabi’u-Mudi, said that the laudable initiative will not stop at boosting productivity and boosting the economy but will also hinder post harvest losses associated with storage equipments.
“This development in the Agriculture space draw definitely affect everybody because of the high cost of food in the country.
“Without mechanisation, the issue of food price hike may further soar higher because unlike manual labour, it’s a more subsidized farming method, it’s faster and saves a lot of time spent on labour in the farm.
“Using manual labour for one hectare of land will cost you about N40,000 but with mechanised equipment you do same land tilling at just the cost of N6,000.
“This way, the cost of production is reduced and the cost of food will be reduced automatically,also post harvest loses will be reduced drastically,” he added.
NAN also reports that Afrinex West Africa Ltd, Abuja Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Abuja trade fair centre and All Farmers Association of NIgeria and Tata are among notable partners in the West Africa Agro fair 2022.
NAN reports that mechanization is a multi-dimensional concept widely used in agriculture
Mr Kabir Ibrahim, President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), says the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) offers Nigeria opportunity to become Africa’s giant through optimal food production.
Ibrahim said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday.
According to him, AfCFTA is a common market in which biotech (Bt) or genetically modified crops (GM) are adjudged safe.
He said that the optimal food production would be achievable using biotech crops.
“My background in pure science and architecture imbues in me the ability to decipher the efficacy and potential of any scientific innovation empirically.
“I am convinced that there is no nexus between cancer and GM crops, for instance,’’ he said.
The AFAN national president argued that the fear of GM crops as expressed by anti-GM activists was not supported by good science.
He said that several international meetings and discussions all over the world had reached the conclusion that GM crops did not cause any disease.
He said this was more so, considering the fact that GM crops were certified by the Biosafety Agency of Nigeria before being released.
Ibrahim noted that the crops had also undergone numerous tests and regulations by the Biosafety Agency even before being certified safe for planting or consumption.
He said Nigerian farmers had fully embraced biotechnology as a game changer to lift them from poverty to prosperity and bring out the much desired food security to Nigeria.
“I, therefore, implore our farmers, traditional rulers, clerics and extension workers to champion the advocacy to embrace biotechnology which ennobles the commercialisation of GM crops.
“This will be the game changer in our quest for attainment of food sufficiency and exit from poverty as a nation,’’ Ibrahim said.
He said the cowpea (beans) which had been genetically modified to resist the insect pest of maruca vitrata, commonly called Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea (PBR Cowpea), had the potential of helping Nigeria economically.
Ibrahim said it would help Nigeria close the deficit of nearly 500,000 metric tonnes now being experienced and also enable it to be a net exporter of the commodity to Africa nations through AfCFTA.
He said this could be replicated to the rest of the world through sustainable agribusiness.
Ibrahim said that farmers would spend less on insecticide and labour, thereby mitigating losses due to insect infestation, especially the dreaded pod borer which was known to wipe out about 70 per cent cowpea plantation.
“I can testify to the efficacy of the PBR cowpea because I have planted it and sprayed only twice instead of eight times to 10 times.
“The yield is also quite remarkable and the same thing goes with the biotech cotton (Bt cotton),’’ the AFAN President said.
He noted that Nigerian farmers would exit subsistence farming by planting PBR Cowpea and Bt cotton and several other crops that would soon be released.
The Lagos State and South West chapter, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), has urged the federal government to speed up the importation of tractors and other implements to ensure food security.
Dr. Femi Oke, Chairman of AFAN, Lagos State and South West Zone, said this in an interview with the Nigerian News Agency on Friday in Lagos.
According to him, the rapid importation of the 10,000 tractors and other agricultural implements into the country will guarantee greater productivity in this sector of the economy.
Oke said that the recent pronouncement by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar, regarding the importation of tractors had dragged on for too long.
He said that Nigeria required urgent action to encourage mechanized agriculture to ensure food sufficiency.
“We had been hearing about the government's decision to import tractors for some time before the new agriculture minister came on board.
“We definitely think something better could come out of this this time.
“A few years ago, during the mandate of the former Minister of Agriculture, Malam Sabo Nanono, he said that tractors were going to be imported from Brazil and that farmers would be able to access them.
“We were very happy that the government was taking this big step to boost food production.
“For so long, more than two and a half years before I left office, nothing was heard about the tractors.
"But we believe that if the current agriculture minister can speed up the procurement of the tractors, it will definitely help the farmers," he said.
The president of the association also suggested that the tractors should be allocated to cluster areas, where farmers could easily access them.
He said farmers were in dire need of mechanized equipment to increase their productivity.
According to him, not every farmer can afford a tractor because it is very expensive.
“The tractors will increase our food security and encourage farmers who are thinking of having one hectare to easily add five to ten hectares.
“If we can get the tractors like we promised, it will really help our farmers,” Oke said.
NAN reports that Abubakar had announced that Nigeria would partner with the Brazilian government in supplying and distributing 10,000 tractors to farmers across the country.
The minister said the move would accelerate the mechanization of the country's agricultural sector and boost economic development.
Abubakar said that the association with his Brazilian counterparts would guarantee the supply of 10,000 units of tractors, 50,000 units of various implements and equipment for assembly in Nigeria.
According to him, the collaboration also includes 142 turnkey factories for agro-processing, as well as the training of project beneficiaries for a period of five years.