By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As wet season farming is around the corner, farmers under the auspices of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, on Monday, expressed worry over high prices of fertilizers and availability.
This was contained in a statement signed by the National President, AFAN, Arc Kabir Ibrahim, while acknowledging availability and price of the commodity in the last four years through the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, PFI, over sale of 20:10:10 at N5, 500 and N5, 000 in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic.
According to AFAN, the prices across states range between N6, 700 and N8, 000 for NPK and N8, 800 to N13, 000 for Urea presently.
The statement reads in part, “The rainy season farming is around the corner AND the cost of fertilizers is skyrocketing while the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, PFI, is yet to release its flagship 20:10:10 and its price.
“The PFI through the sale of 20:10:10 at N5, 500 in the last four years and N5, 000 last year due COVID-19 pandemic was able to bring some respite to the farmers and to the National Food System.
“The PFI assisted AFAN and therefore a large number of Nigerian farmers immensely by making fertilizer available at the subsidized rate of N5, 000 last year to further cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While we await what will happen this year (2021) we are fearful that the fertilizer will not be readily 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 this verifiable information.
“Nigeria is already experiencing skyrocketing prices of food crops, serious food inflation and this coupled with the skyrocketing prices of fertilizers the situation of food availability and affordability will exacerbate.”
The statement also made it known that farmers in some states in the South East region have commenced production in earnest “without any subsidy reaching them and fear that by the time the PFI fertilizer arrives it might be too late for any application to their crops.”
The statement also alleged that there are people who are sabotaging effort of the Buhari-led administration in fertilizer availability, accessibility and affordability, “The President, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR 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.
“The people supporting wavers 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.
However, AFAN expressed optimism over-commitment of PFI as it has the potential to avert the looming food crisis, “We believe that the PFI if encouraged and allowed to continue its work promptly it will avert the imminent food crises in the entire nation.
“The fertilizer subsidy must reach the real practicing farmers to impact Nigerians sustainably and therefore bring succor to the generality of Nigerians.”
It also added that “We think Dangote Fertilizer should be encouraged to bring out its fertilizers promptly and with its known capacity to be able to distribute it across the country it will make fertilizer available like Coca-Cola to the Nigerian farmers. This will give the farmers a choice and competitive price.”
However, the statement concluded by calling on the President to kindly intervene in the issue of sabotage, prices, and availability to assist farmers to serve Nigerians better.