All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Niger has said that the late allocation of fertilizers by the state government to its members this year may result in low crop yields.
Alhaji Shehu Galadima, the state Chairman of the association made this known on Tuesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna.
Galadima said that the measure would affect their crops’ yields adversely because many of the farmers could not apply fertilizers to many of their crops owing to the high cost of the commodity in the open market.
A News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) check reveals that the state government had challenges in subsidizing the commodity for the farmers.
”The fertilizers were allocated to the farmers after a breakthrough on the subsidy arrangement with a private partner.
“Honestly, the late allocation of fertilizers to our farmers is a problem to us, because the farming period is a seasonal thing.
“It is time-bound, in the sense that if you don’t cultivate a particular crop within the time, you are supposed to and apply fertilizer you will not get a good yield,” he said.
Galadima said that the commodity was supposed to be made available early to enable farmers to utilize it to increase production.
“We still appreciate the recent allocation of fertilizers by the state government at a subsidized rate of N15,000 per bag against N16,000 to N26,000 in the market.
“Although the fertilizer came late, it will be utilized for the remaining part of the wet season and fully utilized during the dry season farming,” he said.
The AFAN Chairman urged the farmers to leverage on the government’s gesture to purchase the commodity for the remaining part of the wet season and the coming dry season.
He said that the association was working with the government to ensure that middle men would not hijack the ongoing sales of fertilizers to the detriment of the farmers.
“We want our farmers to check the various distribution outlets at the ward and local government levels to purchase their fertilizers,” he urged.
Galadima said that apart from the late allocation of fertilizers, many of the farmers had been displaced from their ancestral communities owing to security challenges.
He said: “Many of our farmers now live in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the state and also begging in the streets, instead of being in their communities and utilizing the forest land for farming,” he decried.
Galadima said that the association plans to collaborate with the state government to make free inputs available to the displaced farmers.
“These farmers have nothing because they had lost everything to bandits,” he added.
He also called on the government to intensify efforts in tackling the security challenges to stop farmers from abandoning their communities.
Reacting, Dr Idris Gbogan, Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the government made early arrangements assist the farmers with fertilizers at subsidized rate..
”Due to the prevailing economic situation, it took the government some time to get a private partner who agreed to help us get fertilizers for our farmers,” he said.
Gbogan said there was still time for the farmers to apply fertilizers to some crops in the remaining part of the wet season.
He urged the farmers to take advantage of the late intervention to engage in dry season farming, adding, ” it had been proven to be more lucrative to farmers than the wet season farming.” (NAN)