By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, Monday, disclosed Federal Government registering 5 million farmers for fertilizer subsidy support.
Nanono made this known at the Consultative Meeting of National Stakeholders on Restructuring of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative in Abuja.
According to him, government has put in place several intervention programmes geared towards supporting the smallholder farmers most especially those affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic, Flood, EndSARS, and the earlier cessation of rainfall.
He also explained the essence of the meeting which he said was organized to critically examine the proposed option in order to come up with the best way or strategy to reach the smallholder farmers with the subsidy support in a sustainable manner.
He further stated that the establishment of the President Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) by President Muhammadu Buhari, but the President has deemed it fit to restructure the PFI with a view to repositioning it for long-term sustainability and greater impact.
He said: “The primary concern of Government is how to get the majority of the smallholder farmers out of extreme poverty through targeted support in order to increase their level of productivity, household incomes and by extension guarantee food security for the nation.
“We are all aware of the efforts Mr. President has made in promoting the local production of fertilizers in the country in order to ensure self-sufficiency and easy access to products by the farmers to assist them in their production.
“Preparatory to the provision of the subsidy support, I wish to inform you that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has registered and developed the database of the smallholder farmers for easy targeting with the fertilizer subsidy support. So far about 5 million farmers and their farms have been registered with biometrics including farm GIS coordinates.
“As you may be aware, Government has put in place several intervention programmes geared towards supporting the smallholder farmers most especially those affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic, Flood, EndSARS and the earlier cessation of rainfall.”
The Minister also said to ensure that the fertilizers being produced, distributed in the country meet the required set standards in terms of quantity and quality.
“Mr. President signed into law, the National Fertilizer Quality Control (NFQC) Act, 2019. Similarly, I have also signed the National Fertilizer Regulations, which is currently with the Federal Ministry of Justice for publication in the national gazette.
“The Regulatory framework is to regulate the activities of fertilizer operators such as manufacturers, blenders, producers and importers as well as agro-dealers (distributors) under which they must register and obtain Certificate of Registration and Sales Permit respectively before being allowed to operate in the country.
“To ease the registration process with a view to promoting transparency and accountability, an e-registration portal has been developed and operational.
“All these efforts are geared towards protecting the hard-earned investments of the farmers and the fertilizer enterprises in general.
“In order therefore to support the teeming smallholder farmers Mr. President approved that, an implementation template be developed through consultative engagement with the relevant stakeholders on the best way of administering fertilizer subsidy to them nationwide on a sustainable basis”, he stated.