By Bashir Bello
KATSINA – The Federal Government is to revive no fewer than nineteen fertilizer blending plants across the country under the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative.
Abba Yakubu Abdullah, Special Adviser on Agriculture to Governor of Katsina state disclosed this while addressing newsmen on the 2018 wet season fertilizer supply and distribution in Katsina.
Abdullah who boasted that already nine of the plants were operational under the Presidential Fertilizer initiative, said the nineteen additional plants when completed would help reverse the country’s importation, meet it demands and also put it on the edge of exporting the product.
The Special Adviser further threatened that government would arrest defaulters and unscrupulous elements found rebagging the product in Dan Buhari bag and therefore sabotaging the initiative.
According to him, “when this government came, there was only one fertilizer plant in the north located in Kano. Two in the South that are blending fertilizer. But now, through this presidential initiative which the Federal government partners with the kingdom of Morocco which has the 95% of wholesale supply in the world. In fact, they are gaining much more money than what we get from oil.
And that’s why President Muhammadu Buhari partnered with the King and I was lucky that I was part of the delegation that went to Morocco to negotiate for it. They are supplying One million metric tonnes and I think this year, the supply will increase to three million metric tonnes. Through this initiative, nine fertilizer blending plants were reactivated and nineteen more are coming up now. By the time Dangote fertilizer takes off for refinery in Lagos, in fact what he is producing is much more what we require in the country. So Nigeria will become net exporter of fertilizer by the time this project takes off.
“So that’s from the presidential fertilizer initiative. There are some other private sector that are coming to invest. Even in katsina, we have two proposals now that we are discussing with the companies – from UK and, all trying to establish a fertilizer production plants.
“And ones we are able to get that, I can assure you in the next one or two years, Nigeria will become net exporter of fertilizer instead of importing it,” he said.
Abdullah who said it has distributed about 25,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer to farmers in Katsina State at a uniform price of N5,000, said the distribution was allocated to the wards and polling units for onward distribution to the real farmers irrespective of their political parties.
“Measures were put in place to ensure the distribution of fertilizer is not politicized. It is allocated to the wards and polling units for onward distribution to the real farmers irrespective of political party.
“People were use to all those years whereby fertilizer is allocated to politicians and they do whatever they want to do with it. And there are still some people who don’t want to accept the change and thinks it’s business as usual. But under this state it not business as usual.
“And In one of the ward where the party chairman insisted that he wants to get some allocation. He has been suspended by the party Chairman insisted the state,” he said.
The Special Adviser continued when he said some farmers in the state have failed victims of adulterated fertilizer saying “We would arrest anybody using the Dan Buhari bag. That means that one has intention of defrauding the populace. Because some people are falling victims of that adulterated fertilizer bagged in our own Dan Buhari bag. And that is why they are complaining and saying the Dan Buhari is not good.
“So we want to avoid that. But if we catch you bagging it in Dan Buhari bag, you will be arrested. Last year and even this year, some were arrested. Because the Police commissioner has mobilized and taking care of that,” Abdullah however said.