Francis Sardauna in Katsina
The Katsina State Government has commenced the distribution of 25,000 metric tonnes (mt) of fertiliser to small and large scale farmers in the state, worth over N5,74 million, the Special Adviser to the state governor on Agriculture Abba Abdullah has said.
The special adviser, who made the disclosure Friday, while speaking with newsmen, said the fertiliser would be sold to every farmer, who wants to buy at the â€˜subsidisedâ€™ rate of N5,000 per bag.
Abdullah said the brands of fertiliser supplied to farmers in the state were Dan Lawal and Dan Buhari, adding: â€œIt costs the state government N6,856 per bag to purchase Dan Lawal and N5,000 per bag for Dan Buhari. Government also spent N23,347,460 for loading, transport and offloading.â€
According to him, â€œThe last administration procured fertiliser at the cost of N7,800 per bag and by then, US dollar was exchanging at N197 to N200 and the procured fertiliser was sold to farmers at the cost of N2,500 but this government procured fertiliser at N6,856 for Dan Lawal.
â€œN5,000 for Dan Buhari at the dollar exchange rate of N370 to N380. Despite the escalation of the exchange rate, fertiliser was subsidised and sold at the cost of N5,000 per bag for all brands.â€
While reaffirming that the Dan Buhari fertiliser was produced in Funtua Local Government of the state under the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI), the special adviser said it has the most suitable formulation of fertiliser and that it was healthier in maintaining the fertility of Katsina soil.
He further explained that the state government distributed 133 bags to each polling units across the three senatorial zones of Katsina, Funtua and Daura respectively.
Meanwhile, agro-dealers in Katsina State have lamented over what they termed â€œnegligenceâ€ of Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) in the state, alleging foul play by government officials.
The programme was created by the previous government to subsidise the cost of agricultural inputs to farmers across the country.
Some of the dealers, who spoke with THISDAY anonymously, accused the current leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture in the state of edging them out to pave the way for government officials.
The agro dealers in the state have also alleged that the ministry has either decimated or delisted them despite their â€˜creditableâ€™ performance in 2015 GES exercise as certified by the project.
â€œThe success of the GES in Katsina State is now going to be a thing of the past as the new leadership of the ministry in the state has taken over the GES as a super agro-dealer by muzzling out the existing agro-dealers,â€ they alleged.