By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
Farmers in Borno state have expressed concerns over the state government’s inability to flag off sales and distribution of fertilizers at a subsidized rate as earlier done yearly in most states of the federation.
The farmers, mostly from the southern part of the state, insist that, as tradition demands, the timely sales and distribution of fertilizers by the government is long overdue, because most of their crops can longer value the products for effective growth and production since the month of July has passed to Farmers like Amos Ali, Abdu Isa and Fali Adam, who are small scale farmers from Southern part of the state.
They argued that, since governor Zulum came on board in 2019, their hope of getting fertilizer timely and at a subsidized rate has been dashed, as government no longer give priority to the agricultural sector, especially those at the grassroots.
Another farmer who simply gave his name as Yusuf Inuwa, lamented that in January this year when Borno State Government under the leadership of governor Babagana Umara Zulum Zulum flagged off the distribution of Agricultural inputs, such as irrigation machines to 500 dry season farmers in Monguno Local Government Area of Northern Borno senatorial district, there was nothing of such that took place in southern Borno which constituted the heavy number of farmers engaged into farming, considering the peaceful atmosphere and favourable climatic condition experienced naturally in the area.
A retired civil servant, now a farmer, who did not want his name mentioned, told our Correspondent that, the agric sector under Zulum is only existing on the pages of newspapers, but in the real sense, the sector has been neglected.
Mohammed Kolo, a farmer from Damboa local government area in his reaction, said, “It is unfortunate, even hiring of tractors remained inaccessible to farmers in Southern Borno, due to refusal of the government to deploy tractors or to the area during the cultivation period.
“This is even as Borno State Government under the leadership of the former governor, Senator Kashim Shettima claimed procurement of thousands of tractors, but were nowhere to be found.” He lamented.
Our Correspondent observed that due to the situation, a bag of NPK of Urea 50 kg which is also scarce, is sold at N20,000 to N24,000 at the open market depending on the location, compared to last year where the products were sold at less than N10,000 per bag, making it very difficult for the reach of a common man.
The new Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr Bunu Mustapha, who recently assumed duty newly following the resignation of the former commissioner, Engineer Bukar Talba, did not pick up his calls, even as a visit to his office at the Musa Usman Secretariat, Maiduguri by our Reporter did not yield a positive result, because, he (Commissioner) was not in the office at press time.