By Onuminya Innocent
The Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has commended fertilizer firm, OCP Africa’s plan to support small scale farmers by selling fertilizer to them at subsidized rates so as to cushion the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure food security in the country.
Speaking at the flag-off of OCP Africa fertilizer post Covid-19 intervention package to farmers in Sokoto Thursday, Tambuwal said: “The palliatives will go a long way in boosting the agriculture sector of the state and country as farmers will be able to plant in time and harvest rich yields for national food security.”
OCP Africa, one of the leading companies in the production and exportation of phosphate-based fertilizers, is working with the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), and blending plants under the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers of Nigeria (FEPSAN).
In his remark, OCP Africa Area Commercial Manager, Adam Idris, said: “The palliatives intervention is aimed at supporting smallholder farmers across several states of Nigeria in order to mitigate the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the current farming season.
“This is through ensuring distribution and access to subsidized fertilizers and other farm inputs, and also training and extension services, access to markets, and access to digital technology, all in a bid to increase crop yield and ensure food security as the 2020 farming season commences.
“This initiative underscores OCP Africa’s commitment to the federal and state governments of Nigeria in the drive to curtail the spread and adverse effect of COVID-19 pandemic across the country.
“The need to support the livelihood and productivity of rural smallholder farmers in this difficult period is uppermost in OCP Africa’s strategy. Under this Covid-19 response initiative, OCP Africa would be reaching over 50,000 smallholder farmers through access to inputs, training and extension, digital technology support and access to markets.
“In Sokoto State specifically, 10,000 farmers would be reached through three outlets in Goronyo, Wurno and Tambuwal Local Government Areas thus, creating employment and empowerment for at least 65 people in stock management, training and extension service and produce offtake.
“We are supporting each farmer to access two bags of the PFI blended NPK 20:10:10 at N4,500 per bag instead of N5,000:00 per bag.”
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Muhammad Arzika Tureta, who represented the governor, commended OCP Africa’s efforts to support farmers to boost food production on the state.
Tureta said: “The government will continue to welcome positive initiatives that will assist farmers in boosting their harvest in the state.”
OCP Africa, which was established in 2016, is a subsidiary of OCP Group. It aims to contribute to the development of integrated agricultural ecosystems in Africa.
It works hand in hand with farmers to enhance the agricultural potential of the African continent through solutions adapted to local conditions and the needs of soils and crops.