The Chairman of the Federal Superphosphate Fertilizer Company, Kaduna, Abullahi Kanti Mohammed, has called on the various tiers of government in Nigeria to provide strong and reassuring guarantees to cover the volume of crops produced by registered farmers in the country as a sure means of making the most gains out of the current Presidential Fertiliser Initiative of the Federal Government.
Kanti said such a guarantee became necessary following records of improved crop production as a result of the successful PFI programme that had enabled farmers to access fertilisers early in the planting season and at affordable prices.
Kanti, who made this known in a statement, expressed concern that farmers may soon begin to face fresh wave of challenge bordering on lack of off-takers for their output and believes that by providing a government guarantee, the farmers would be able to concentrate on growing output and not worry about the consequences of a growing inventory.
“The federal government has correctly fixed the problem of fertiliser production and distribution in Nigeria and the complaints by farmers of lack of inputs appears to have been permanently solved. “But I foresee a bigger future challenge, which is how to secure the farmers increased output to enable him concentrate on production and not worry about marketing and his mounting inventory.
“What I want the government to do, in addition to what we have seen so far in the PFI programme is for there to be a mechanism through which whatever the farmer grows are purchased by the government.
“Believe me, if you do that, farmers’ output per year will continue to double and even triple in some cases. As it is now, most farmers, after a year of bountiful harvest, would find it difficult to sell their products at a price that are reasonable,” he stated.
Reminding the government of how farming was becoming a lot more attractive following the availability of affordable high quality multi-nutrient fertilisers in Nigeria, he pleaded for efforts to be put in place to avoid a possible future situation where people who were attracted to farming as a result of the PFI programme would begin to face frustrations when they begin to find it hard to reduce their inventory.
“Government has a critical role to play here. I have heard people talking about the return of the Commodity Boards and I think that will be a welcome development. But we must ensure this is given the right political leverage as an insurance for continued increase in productivity by Nigerian farmers,” he said.