Nigerian farmers under the aegis of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has petitioned the Federal Government through its Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PTI) to urgently intervene in the skyrocketing prices of fertiliser in order to avoid worsening increase in price of food items.
The National President of AFAN, Kabir Ibrahim, in an interview with New Telegraph, said that it is time for PFI to intervane in the country’s fertiliser situation by releasing the flagship sale of 20:10:10 at N5,500, which was sold in the last four years and N5,000 last year due to COVID-19 so as to bring some respite to farmers. He explained that Nigeria was already experiencing skyrocketing prices of food crops, serious food inflation, coupled with the skyrocketing prices of fertilizers. The AFAN president noted that the situation of food availability and affordability woukd exacerbate in the country if fertiliser prices are not managed properly by government. Ibrahim observed that even with the rainy season farming being around the corner, the cost of fertiliser was still high, going beyond the pockets of local farmers as PFI was yet to roll out its 20:10:10 fertilisers.
According to him, the delay on the part of PFI in releasing and intervening in the fertiliser market can lead to food scarcity. He pointed out that there was currently disparity in NPK prices nationwide, ranging from N6,700 to N8,000, while that of Urea goes for between N8,000 and 13,000, saying this portends danger for the country’s agric sector.
Ibrahim said: “The rainy season farming is around the corner and the cost of fertilisers is skyrocketing, while the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative is yet to release its flagship 20:10:10 and its prices. “The PFI through the sale of 20:10:10 at N5500 in the last four years and N5000 last year due COVID-19 was able to bring some despitee to the farmers and to the national food system.
“The PFI assisted AFAN and a large number of Nigerian farmers immensely by making fertiliser available at the subsidised rate of N5,000 last year to further cushion the effect of COVID-19. “While we await what will happen this year, we are afraid that fertiliser will not be available and affordable as in the last four years due to delays in releasing the new price and the commodity itself. “The prices across the states range between N6,700 and N8,000 for NPK and N8,800 to N13,000 for Urea at present. “The AFAN chairmen in some states cutting across all the geopolitical zones furnished us with these verifiable information.
“The farmers in some states in the South East have commenced production in earnest without any subsidy reaching them and fear that by the time the PFI fertiliser arrives it might be too late for any application to their crops. President, Muhammadu Buhari has shown commitment and passion for agriculture but he is being sabotaged by some people around him, who are not adequately working to make agriculture work properly. “We believe that PFI, if encouraged and allowed to continue its work promptly, will avert the imminent food crises in the entire nation.
“The people supporting wivers to be given to some businessmen to import or corner fertilizers are saboteurs and should be dispensed with if Nigeria is to be food sufficient and livable. “The fertiliser subsidy must reach the real practicing farmers to impact Nigerians sustainably and therefore bring succor to the generality of Nigerians. “We think Dangote should be encouraged to bring out its fertilisers promptly and with its known capacity to distribute it across the country, it will make fertiliser available like Coca-Cola to the Nigerian farmers. “This will give the farmers a choice and competitive price. “We call on the resident to kindly intervene in this matter to assist the farmers to serve Nigerians better,” he added.