The chairman of the presidential fertilizer initiative, Muhammad Badaru, on Tuesday, said farmers are facing difficulties in accessing fertilizer due to suspension of urea production.
Mr Badaru, who is also the governor of Jigawa State, in a press conference in Dutse, said the distribution networks encountered challenges because the production of the major raw material – urea – was halted, following the impact of COVID-19.
He said the production of urea by Indorama was suspended after some of its staff contracted coronavirus. He added that the factory has closed down for about three weeks, and this was coupled with the interstate lockdown, which prevented the swift turnaround of trucks across the country.
The difficulties faced by farmers in accessing fertilizer also resulted in panic buying and the activities of hoarders, who buy the available product and hoard it, with the intention of increasing the price, Mr Badaru said.
The governor added that all the challenges have now been addressed, as there is an increase in production and the presidential initiative has been pushing quantities of fertilizers every day across the 31 blending plants in the country so that farmers can continue to access the fertilizer in their domain.
He said the task force has also arrested suspects producing adulterated fertilizer and they would soon be prosecuted to face what they have done in sabotaging the nation’s economy and cheating the farmers.
The official stated that the presidential fertilizer initiative is only on MPK 20:10:10, and not other fertilizer produce. If other fertilizer products are not available in the market, then it is the forces of demand and supply that are driving that.
“It’s not within the power of (the) presidential fertilizer initiative to monitor or control the sale of Urea, 15 15 fertilizer and others because Nigeria is self-sufficient in the production of Urea and is even exporting it,” the governor said.
“The presidential fertilizer initiative is responsible only (for) the distribution of MPK 20:10:10. If a farmer is looking for 15:15 and does not get, (he) should not blame the taskforce for not having (the) fertilizer,” the governor said.
The governor added that the COVID-19 pandemic has obviously affected the production and distribution network of fertilizer in the country, which might affect the production outputs of the farmers.