By Francis Ogwo
About 5 million farmers have been registered as beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s fertilizer subsidy initiative.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, disclosed this at a Consultative Meeting on Restructuring of Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) for Sustainability in Abuja on Monday.
The Minister was of the view that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had registered and developed the database targeting smallholder farmers for the fertilizer subsidy support.
Nanono further disclosed that the consultative meeting, which was jointly organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, is to critically examine the proposed option to evolve the best strategy to reach the smallholder farmers with the subsidy support.
According to the Minister, the government’s priority was to boost the output of smallholder farmers even as the country grapples with recession and poverty.
In his words: ”We are all aware of the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in promoting local production of fertilizer in the country in order to ensure easy access by farmers. This was made possible by the establishment of the President Fertilizer Initiative.
”However, Mr President has restructured the PFI with a view to repositioning it for long term sustainability and greater impact. In order to support the teeming smallholder farmers, Mr President approved that, an implementation template be developed through consultative engagement with the relevant stakeholders,” Nanono said.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Dr Andrew Kwasari, who was at the meeting said one of the aims of the nation’s fertilizer strategy was to create sufficient supply of safe, high-quality crops and price competitive fertilizer.
Recall that the Federal Government created the initiative towards ensuring a boost in local agricultural production with less of importation.
This is with the Federal Government earmarking the sum of N600 billion which would boost the productivity of about 2.4 million farmers in the country