ABUJA – Some delegates at the National Conference have stressed the need for governments at all levels to increase local production of fertiliser to meet local demand.
The delegates, while debating the report of the conference’s Committee on Agriculture, described fertiliser as one of the main components of agriculture.
Amb. Adamu Aliyu , representing North-East, regretted the low number of fertiliser blending plants in the country more than 50 years after independence.
“We have only two fertiliser blending plants in the country but, unfortunately, they cannot meet the need of the Nigerian farmers and this has resulted in the importation of the products.
“It is necessary that governments in conjunction with the necessary stakeholders ensure that the two plants produce to their full capacity.
“They should also find ways of ensuring that the local demand for fertiliser is met,’’ Aliyu said.
Dr Salome Jankada, representing Taraba in her contribution, called for timely delivery of fertiliser to boost farm yields.
“When you start farming in May and the fertiliser does not get to you until September or November, how can it be useful.
“If the fertiliser is delivered on time, it will go a long way in boosting farms produce,’’ she said.
Jankada also stressed the need for government to be consistent in its policies, saying this would boost agricultural productivity.
Mr Kenan Mamman, representing persons living with disabilities, also called on government to ensure that fertiliser being distributed through phone is delivered to the intended beneficiaries.
“I have just received an SMS that I have been issued two bags of 10 kg fertiliser and maize.
“The same message was sent to me last year but when I got to the point of collection, I was told it had been claimed by another person.
“There should be a mechanism to ensure that the product is delivered to the right person,’’ Mamman said.
Mr John Momah, an elder statesman from Taraba, called for the celebration of Farmers’ Day to celebrate the contribution of farmers in the country.
“Nigerian farmers are hard-working but are never appreciated. The peasant farmers have worked hard to put food on our table and to contribute to the growth of Nigerian economy.
“For this reason, I wish to recommend that we should have Farmers’ Day on the Nigerian calendar to celebrate Nigerian farmers,’’ he said.
Momah also called for the revival of the abandoned agricultural show in the country adding that “every local government should be encouraged to conduct this annual event”.
Mrs Ebele Okeke, representing retired civil servants, stressed the need for state governments to pay for the water they consumed from dams.
“Normally, state governments take water from dams and they don’t pay the River Basins but instead make the people to pay for water rate.
“State governments have to pay River Basins so that the money can be used to pay for the maintenance of the infrastructure,’’ Okeke suggested.
Gen. Jeremiah Temlong, an elder statesman, called on the Federal Government to be more involved in policy formulation and leave agricultural business to states and local governments.
Temlomg also called for more attention to be given to aqua-culture through appropriate policies and funding.
“Our bodies of waters in the country should also be stocked with fingerlings so that people can go into fishing and make a living from that,’’ he said. (NAN)