The Niger government has procured N1.243 billion worth of fertilizer for distribution to farmers in the last two years, according to Malam Haruna Dukku, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.
Dukku told newsmen on Monday in Minna that a total of 19,710 metric tons of the commodity were procured during the period.
He said that the fertilizer was sold to farmers at “highly subsidized rates”.
According to him, the state government, in 2017, distributed 4,000 metric tons of NPK fertilizers allocated to it under the Federal Government Special Fertilizer Intervention Programme.
He said: “For the 2018 farming season, the state government collaborated with TAK Fertilizer Company to distribute 15,000 metric tons of NPK fertilizers to farmers, under the federal government Special Fertilizer Intervention Programme.”
The commissioner said that the government effort had shored up farmers’ produce, adding that farmers also received implements and improved inputs from the federal and state governments, as well as international development partners.
He further disclosed that the state government had procured 130 units of tractors in the last three years, while 36 other tractors were refurbished within the period under review.
According to him, the effort has boosted mechanized farming system in the state.
He said that the government had also distributed 130 units of multipurpose thrashers and five units of power tillers to rice farmers cooperative groups, while assorted grains worth N380.1 million were procured and distributed to rural farmers.
The commissioner said that 10,000 youths would be engaged under the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme and explained that the scheme would involve all aspects of maize, soya beans and rice value chain.
Dukku said that 2,000 youths were engaged in cultivating maize and soya beans under the AADS in four local governments – Mokwa, Borgu, Chanchaga and Wushishi – this year.
According to him, the AADS scheme has also trained 2,000 young farmers on dry season farming, while 20,000 farmers are participating in the Anchor Borrowers Programme organiszd by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He said: “The scheme concentrates on cultivating rice, soya beans and cotton.”
Alhaji Shehu Galadima, the state chairman, All Farmers Association, who confirmed Dukku’s claim to the News Agency of Nigeria said that members of the association received fertilizers at subsidized rates for this year’s wet season farming.
Galadima said that the farmers purchased a 50 kilogramme bag of NPK fertilizer at the subsidized rate of N5,500, against the open market price of N6,000 per bag.