Farmers have started accessing fertilisers at the new rate, which is about 50 per cent less than what obtained some weeks ago, Punchng has learnt.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh, had in January announced that the price of fertilisers would crash by half, down from N12,000/N10,000 to around N5,000.
Ogbeh also stated that a shipload of phosphate would arrive in Nigeria from Morocco and that blending of the product to manufacture fertiliser would commence immediately because Nigeria’s target in fertiliser production was between 700,000 and 800,000 tonnes per annum.
“Once the blending starts in the course of our negotiation, the price of fertiliser will fall by about 50 per cent,” the minister had stated.
Also, about two weeks ago, agro-dealers in Abuja stated that the shipload of phosphate had landed in Nigeria and that the price of the commodity would crash, although the product was not sold at the new rate then.
However, findings by Punchng on Friday revealed that some farmers, particularly those in the northern region had started accessing fertilisers at the new reduced rate of N5,500 for a 50kg bag as opposed to the former price of N12,000 for the same quantity.
It was gathered that members of the Nigeria Agribusiness Group held a meeting last Wednesday, which focused largely on the new fertiliser price, as they urged the Federal Government to ensure that the commodity was sold at N5,500 per 50kg across the country.
The Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Femi Oke, told our correspondent that the NABG, as well as other groups of farmers under the body, commended the Federal Government for slashing the cost of fertiliser.
He stated that the development would enhance crop production because more farmers would harvest improved yields as a result of their ability to access fertilisers at a cheaper price.
Oke said, “We are aware of the price reduction. In fact, the meeting we had with the NABG two days ago focused on the Federal Government’s decision to reduce the price of fertilisers. It is a very good gesture and we know ourselves and there won’t be any third party in the process. Farmers accept it and are happy with the Presidential initiative on fertiliser production in Nigeria and price reduction.
“In our meeting with the NABG, which is headed by Sani Dangote of the Dangote Group, we discussed this issue extensively and we came out with other ideas on how farmers will have one voice as regards the price and other issues. Also, we discussed how all the agencies and farmers will come onboard to take advantage of this initiative in order to increase crop yields.”
When asked if farmers had started accessing fertilisers at the new price, Oke said, “Definitely those of us who have not been able to get it at that rate will soon get it since the government has said it should be sold at N5,500, we are going to get it. I’m sure our counterparts in the North are already getting it at that rate.
“The government is very serious about this initiative and we welcome such seriousness; we have no doubt about it. I’m definitely sure that some farmers in the North have started accessing it at the new price.”
Also confirming the price reduction and fertiliser accessibility by farmers, the National Chairman, Agro-dealers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Kabiru Fara, told our correspondent that part of measures put in place by government to bring down the cost of the commodity and enhance its distribution was the approval for payment of the balance of N22bn out of the N66bn that was owed agro-dealers.
He explained that the debt was owed by the previous government, but its payment was recently approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Fara said, “We will use this payment to buy what fertiliser producers produce and distribute it across the market at N5,500. So, releasing our money will make the presidential initiative on fertiliser distribution very easy.”
Similarly, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, had confirmed that the government of Morocco had supplied the shipload of phosphate for fertiliser blending in Nigeria.
This, he said, would boost agriculture across the country, adding that several blending plants had commenced fertiliser production in many states.
Baru, who spoke at the Abuja headquarters of the corporation, said, “The Moroccans have already supplied a cargo of phosphate, which has been delivered to various blending plants across the country. Already, 11 blending plants have come into production because of the supply.
“I am happy to inform you that this development has translated to the creation of about 50,000 jobs and led to the production of about 1.3 million tonnes of fertiliser in the country.”
He added, “Following the arrival of the first consignment, the Moroccans have also given Nigeria a generous credit term of 90 days and they are planning to bring in more cargoes that will fit the various blending plants in the country.”
The South-West Coordinator, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Mr. Babatunde Faleke, said exporters had been paying duties between 16 and 25 per cent, which could be removed if they had exported under the AGOA programme.