FG develops Template to Support Small Farm holders for Agric Sustainability
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has revealed that the Ministry through the Department of Farm Inputs Support Services (FISS) would ensure that an implementation template be developed with relevant stakeholders on the best way of administering the fertilizer subsidy to the smallholder farmers across the country on sustainable basis.
Speaking during the Consultative Meeting with Relevant Stakeholders on the Development of Template for the Administration of Subsidy to the Smallholders Farmers on Sustainable Basis, held at the NAF Conference Center, Kado – Abuja, today Monday 7th December, 2020, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, stated that the Initiative would ensure affordability, transparency, self-sufficiency and easy access to products by the farmers to assist them in their production and increase their earnings.
Nanono pointed out that ‘’ the primary concern of the Federal Government is how to get the majority of the smallholder farmers out of extreme poverty through targeted support in order to increase their level of productivity, household incomes and by extension guarantee food security for the nation’’.
He reemphasized the efforts Mr. President has made in promoting the local production of fertilizers in the country in order to ensure self-reliance and easy access to products by the farmers to assist them in their production. According to him, ‘’this was made possible by the establishment of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI). However, Mr. President has restructured the PFI with a view to repositioning it for long term sustainability and greater impact”.
The Minister charged the stakeholders to demonstrate high level of commitment and support towards partnering with the Federal Government to create reliable and sustainable channel of getting fertilizers to the teeming small holder farmers who have laboured and continued to labour tirelessly, over the years, to successfully feed the entire nation’s population including the numerous agro industries that depend on farmers produce for their raw materials needs.
He informed that ‘’ the Ministry have registered and developed the database of the smallholder farmers for easy targeting with the fertilizer subsidy support. So far, about 5 million farmers and their farms have been registered with biometrics including farm Geographic Information Systems (GIS) coordinates’’.
Nanono pledged that ‘’ the Federal Government will ensure that the fertilizers being produced and distributed in the country meet the required set standards in terms of quantity and quality’’.
He further said that ‘’Mr. President signed into Law, the National Fertilizer Quality Control (NFQC) Act, 2019. Similarly, I have also signed the National Fertilizer Regulations, which is currently with the Federal Ministry of Justice for publication in the national gazette’’.
The Minister noted that the Regulatory framework is to regulate the activities of fertilizer operators such as manufacturers, blenders, producers and importers as well as agro-dealers (distributors) under which they must register and obtain Certificate of Registration and Sales Permit respectively before being allowed to operate in the country.
He stated that to ease the registration process with a view to promoting transparency and accountability, an e-registration portal has been developed and is presently operational. He further said that ‘’all these efforts are geared towards protecting the hard earned investments of the farmers and the fertilizer enterprise in general’’.
He said that ‘’ Federal Government has put in place several intervention programmes geared towards supporting the smallholder farmers most especially those affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic, Flood, EndSARS and the earlier cessation of rainfall’’.
The Minister appealed to the stakeholders to critically examine the proposed option and come up with the best way or strategy to reach the smallholder farmers with the subsidy support in sustainable manner.
In her remarks, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mallam Aliyu Ahmed stated that ‘’ our today’s engagement will be guided by fundamental changes upon which sustainability will be built; the role of NAIC-NPK be restricted to the importation of the raw materials, monitoring activities and provision of cost basis for FGN to effectively calculate and pay subsidies as for vulnerable smallholder farmers’’.
She added that ‘’all fertilizer blending plants participating in the PFI now have to provide bank guarantees to cover requisite raw materials appropriate to their demand-driven production in order to substantially reduce risk to NSIA, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) through engagement with State Governments and relevant stakeholders to develop a template for administering fertilizer subsidy management framework to the smallholder farmers among others ’’.
In his presentation titled ,‘Restructuring of the PFI and the proposed Data Driven Framework for Administering Smart Fertilizer Subsides’, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Kwasari stated that the Fertilizer strategy objectives includes; to create sufficient supply of safe ,high quality ,crop specific and price competitive fertilizer supply to the farmers.
Dr. Andrew Kwasari further said that ‘’ it will ensure expanded access to such fertilizer supply to all via commercial channels and selectively use targeted support mechanisms to improve access for low income/vulnerable small holders farmers.
While giving a vote of thanks, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Abdulkadir Mu’azu stated that ‘’the participants should ensure the resolution of meeting tackles the issue quality, quantities, good prices, and right time for the Stallholders farmers in Nigeria and He also thanked the stakeholders for their commitment and technical support towards the actualization of the NFQC Act and Regulations.
Chief Information Officer
For: Director, Information (FMARD)