The Agricultural ministry’s mobile telephone fertilizer policy is failing farmers in rural areas.
Farmers in Tafawa Balewa Local Government Area of Bauchi State have rejected the brand of fertiliser offered them under the e-Wallet System of Fertiliser Distribution.
The Head of the Department for Agriculture in the local government, Bala Suleiman, made this known on Tuesday in Bununu, the headquarters of the local government.
“The farmers are coming but not many, not like expected,” he said. “It is not the type of fertiliser that they are in need of.”
Mr. Suleiman explained that the farmers were to be given one bag of Urea and one bag of NPK.
“But the problem we encountered here is that it was only NPK that was brought to this local government while none of the farmers was given seeds,” he said.
The departmental head said the 147 farmers registered by the local government under the Agricultural Loan Scheme were enough to consume all the consignment.
“But by the time they brought NPK, the time for application of NPK had passed,” Mr. Suleiman said.
He said that the council recorded more than 8,000 registered farmers under the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES), while four trailers out of the 28 trailers allocated to the area were dumped at Bununu and Zwul sale points.
“Up to this time, we have not exhausted the four trailers due to the brand,” he said. “Cash and carry basis as well as lack of GSM networks is our problem.”
Failure of Agricultural policy
The rejection of the fertilizers appears to be an indictment on the recent fertilizer and other subsidies to farmers announced by the Federal Government. The policy is largely based on the use of mobile telephones which are to be given to all rural farmers in the country.
Mr. Suleiman said the poor mobile telephone facilities were also causing a hindrance to the farmers
“The problem was compounded by lack of GSM network as most of our villages here have no access to GSM network and sales are done through phones, and most farmers are out of this GSM network coverage,” he said.
“This is the headquarters of the local government, but we don’t have access to any kind of GSM network not to talk of those in the hinterlands,” he added
He asked for a modification of the policy and asked the government to either allocate the commodity to any farmer who has been registered and whose name is in the register, or revert to the “Voucher System of Distribution.”