•Alleges disappearance of fertilizer trucks during PDP government
By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja said Nigeria’s journey towards self-sufficiency and food security was non-negotiable.
The president who stated this while meeting with members of Presidential Fertilizer Initiative in the Presidential Villa, directed the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd.) and other security agencies to provide protection for movement of agricultural products.
Bearing in mind that rainy season was approaching and farmers in the Southern region were warming up for planting, Buhari directed the Ministry of Finance and National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to immediately engage the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to conclude orders for fertilizer.
Buhari also used the moment to attack the previous Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governments, alleging that a number of trucks conveying fertilizer disappeared during the period, a trend he said his government had stopped.
He tasked the Ministry of Agriculture, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and governors to sustain the synergy among them and ensure that Nigeria was self-sustained.
“Unlike in previous Governments where trucks conveying fertiliser would miraculously disappear in transit, in 2017, none of the 3,333 trucks that participated in this program went missing. I want to assure all participants of the PFI that, we will continue to provide adequate security so that this program, and its positive impact on Nigeria, is sustained.
“We are all aware of the great partnership between the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and State Governors to ensure Nigeria feeds itself. I want to encourage you to continue on this track.
“Specifically, you must all support programs like the PFI and work together to ensure we never return to the dark days of import dependence. I am pleased to hear that already, the CBN is working with the commercial banks on programs that will further expand and enhance the PFI,” he said.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Jigawa State governor, Abubakar Badaru, said Nigeria was pursuing an expansion in fertilizer initiative with a view to securing one million tonnes this year in addition to 500,000 tonnes of last year.
He said the move had become important because “quality fertilizer is one of the key ingredients that improve yield and improving yields per hectare which means increased productivity which is one of the key to our competitiveness,” adding that the price of fertilizer will remain stable.
“It is going to be the same price specifically like last year. Unfortunately, the price of potash increased this year at this material time but we are working with international prices and see how it will affect our prices. As of today, it will remain N5,000 to the dealers and farm gate price of N5,500 to the farmers for a bag of 50 kilogramme.”