From: Bamidele Fashube
The Nigerian Government has unfolded plans to boost farmers activities with a N600 billion palliative to ensure food security and sustainability.
It said the stimulus package which targets small scale farmers with an initial 2.4 million farmers in the first phase.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, made the disclosure in a statement signed by the Director Information, Theodore Ogaziechi, while on a tour of Dangote Fertilizer Plant in Lagos State at the weekend.
According to him, the tour was part of meeting with other fertilizer companies in Lagos State, to fashion out private sector participation that would galvanize the sector, especially in the heat of COVID-19 pandemic as regards to food production and security ahead of 2021 that would also mitigate the high cost of food currently experienced in the country.
He said border Closure as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, has led to self-sufficient, adding that Nigeria can conveniently and sustainably feed itself.
The statement also disclosed that in another engagement, the Minister and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu, had interaction with agro-input dealers in Lagos, where they discussed quality, affordability, and availability of fertilizer across the country.
“The big player, Dangote Group and other fertilizer blending companies, Premium Agro Limited, Elephant Group, and Kewalram Group stated that raw materials for fertilizer blending, most especially ammonium phosphate, is the major challenge they face.
“However, the cheery news is that Dangote Group is considering the exploration of a local sources for the raw materials which they are hopeful and confident that once the domestic source is remedied, the problem of fertilizer shortfall will become history in the country.
“The Minister was overwhelmed with this revelation and is of the opinion that with the impressive strategies initiated by the Dangote Group, the outcome will change the narrative of agriculture, food production/ fertilizer availability and the nation’s economy for good before the close of 2020”, the statement added.