THE Niger State Governor Umaru Bago, has officially launched the wet season sales and distribution of fertilizers and other agricultural inputs at a discounted rate for 2023 to farmers in the state.
Bago urged the relevant MDAs in charge of the distribution to ensure an equitable distribution, stating that each beneficiary was entitled to 10 bags of fertilizer.
He also warned that anyone seen to be acting inappropriately would be dealt with decisively by security personnel adding that the fertiliser had been delivered in 60,000 bags to begin with, with 120,000 more bags to follow.
The governor also committed to buying 300 tractors, of which 10 would be given to each of the state’s 25 local government area.
“This is our way as a government to encourage farming and agriculture in the state. We must gravitate from subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture,” he said.
“We have put in place structures and machinery for distribution. We have made it a policy that only 10 bags can be sold to an individual.
“Bank details and BVN of individuals will be taken into consideration and we have invited the EFCC, ICPC, and also the police to make sure that this is done rightly. We are bringing subsidy in agriculture and it must be sustained.”
Idris Gbogan, the permanent secretary of the ministry of agriculture and rural development, explained in his remarks that the state government had authorized a 20% subsidy on 100 trucks (600 tonnes) of fertilizer and that each bag of fertiliser weighing 50 kg would be sold for N18,000 as opposed to the open market price of N24,000-N30,000.
He added that internal control systems were in place to ensure that only farmers with limited resources benefited from the sale, which was to take place at the specified stores spread out over the state.
According to Gbogan, the Ministry, Local Government Directors of Agriculture, Niger State Agricultural Mechanization Development Agency (NAMDA) Zonal officers, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Security operatives, and Sarkin Nomas, among others, were the monitoring teams for all the zones of the state.
The Permanent Secretary thanked Bago for his persistence in seeing to it that the agricultural potentials of the state were appropriately tapped adding that the ministry has begun the process of giving each civil servant one hectare of land to grow as he has instructed.
Additionally, he urged the governor to revive and support the ministry’s buffer stock program so that it could collect grains during harvest and store them in state-owned designated warehouses for later sales at a lower price than the open market.
Also speaking at the event, AFAN Chairman Shehu Galadima applauded the governor for his deliberate efforts towards ensuring the development and sustenance of agriculture in the state and pledged the association’s continued support for government policies and programmes.