From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
Kebbi State government has purchased about 128 trucks of fertilizers for onward distribution to the farmers across the 225 wards in the state as well as N40 million to be used to fight Quelea birds which are invading the farmlands from neighbouring countries.
Commissioner for Agriculture Alhaji Maigari Abdullahi Dakingari stated this while speaking with newsmen about the readiness of the state government to distribute fertilizers to the farmers for rainy season farming and continue aerial sparing of chemicals against the quelea birds.
Dakingari disclosed that the state government had procured the fertilizers at the cost of N23,000 from the company and they would be given to the farmers who had not benefited from such gesture at the cost of N15,000.
According to him, “let me tell you that, chemical fertilizer as at today, the price of it has skyrocketed. It is even difficult for the government to procure fertilizers. We did all we could, we faced many challenges, but we successfully got the fertilizers. But at a very high price. These fertilizers we procured from the company, were procured at a cost of N23,000. The condition we found ourselves now demanding for reflections, the Rusian-Ukrainian war is affecting the production of fertilizers across the world. And we don’t have enough fertilizers in Nigeria to take care of our farmers in Nigeria. That is why these fertilizers we procured are going to be sold to the farmers at a subsidized price of N15,000 per bag.
“On the quelea birds’ continuous control, His Excellency has approved the sum of N40 million for the continues killing of quelea birds,” he said.
Dakingari explained that the state governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the main concern is how to ensure food security and enhancement of agriculture in the state as the National Vice-Chairman of the Council for Food Security in Nigeria, stressed that the government, since its inception, has been procuring fertilizers for the farmers and selling it to them at the subsidized price.
“So, the quelea birds’ issue, His Excellency, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has been up and doing since June and July, he approved the contract for the aerial spraying against the Quelea birds and it was done successfully. But, surprisingly, when the rain started in earnest, we faced with challenges, which was overwhelminging, not only to Kebbi State but also to Sokoto and Zamfara states,” he said.
“We were facing these birds which are crossing borders in millions from the Republic of Niger, Republic of Benin, from Senegal, from Cameroon. It was so overwhelmed and we contacted the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and they came immediately to spray Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states. That’s to large extent reduced the menace of the Quelea birds to be caused to our farmlands.
“As you know, Kebbi state is an agrarian state and very seriously, the governor is concerned about the food security in the state and also on how agriculture would enhance in the state. And that is why about four days ago, the governor approved for the continuation of these quelea bird control.
“I want to inform our people that the governor has approved the continuation of the aerial spraying so that these Quelea birds could be controlled. So, we have taken our technical staff round to areas like Argungu, Augie, Bunza, Zuru and Yauri to find out from the farmers and we have submitted our reports to the contractor. Now, the contractor is ready to start this evening,” he said.
He added that the committee on the fertilizer distributions have been set to monitor the sales and distributions of the fertilizers to the farmers in the state, and stressed that they comprise LGA chairmen and their secretaries, security agencies, vigilante, AFAN and other wards executives.
Dakingari said that the committee would ensure that the fertilizers were not diverted from the state by any businessman for their personal profits.