Sell Adulterated Fertiliser To Farmers, Get Sanctioned, Ogbeh Warns Fertiliser Blenders
The Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has warned fertiliser blenders across the country to stop selling adulterated fertiliser to farmers or face sanctions.
Ogbeh gave the warning on Friday in Abuja during a news conference on Nigerian Agricultural Export Zero Reject Initiative and the Nationwide Advocacy on Agricultural Control and Standardisation.
He said that some companies were packaging adulterated fertiliser, which they sold to unsuspecting farmers, adding that those involved would not go unpunished.
“One problem we are facing with fertiliser since we started running this new programme is that some people have started adulterating fertiliser; a typical Nigerian problem.
“They have started printing the Federal Government bags and they will load the fertiliser sacks with kaolin and sharp sand and sell to farmers.
“Thank God that the Department of State Security has been arresting and prosecuting some of them.
“Let me send a warning to fertiliser blenders. Don’t be tempted to cut corners. If we catch any of you, we will shut you down and it will take you a long time to get your business revived.
“If we catch you, you will have a long journey with the police and in the court. We shall shut down your operations. We have brought down the price of fertiliser to N5, 500 per bag.
“The Federal Government and Morocco Government have an agreement on fertiliser and the result is favourable.
“For those who abuse it, you will have days of tears even if you think you are making money now, “he said.
According to the minister, farmers need to be educated to get it right from the farm to ensure global standard so that our produce won’t be rejected at the international market again.
“Over dependent on oil and gas has made us forget so many things. We can’t continue to say that there is Nigeria standard; it has to be worldwide standard.
“It should not be about export but our health and nutrition security too. Most of the time, we eat poison because of the way we handle and package our farm produce.
“We have to get it right from the seed we cultivate, to the fertiliser or chemical we spray, the way we process the food, preservation and packaging.
“It is not about what we export but health of the larger society.
“As for export, we need to be very careful this time. There must not be news that Nigeria goods are rejected in abroad. We must ensure standard and quality,’’ the minister said.
Also, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Bukar Tijani, said that the ministry was committed to mitigate the rejection of the country’s produce even for local consummation.
“In the current administration’s effort to earn foreign exchange, there is a presidential order given to dedicate some port terminals for export of agro produce without hindrance.
“The issue of produce quality for consumption and export drive is long overdue and all hands must be on deck on the plan for a nationwide advocacy agricultural quality control and Standardisation.”
Dr Vincent Isegbe, Coordinating Director, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, said the news conference was to promote the advocacy for zero reject of agricultural commodities and non-agricultural export products.
He said that in the light of value chain specialisation, the concept of agriculture as a business and the role of export inspection and certification were approved when NAQS appealed for its recognition.
“We thank the minister for setting up the zero rejection committee. The committee has further reiterated the need for safe export of various agricultural produce.
“NAQS is fully committed to collaborate with all the stakeholders and other department. We are equally committed to acquisition of the global gap certification of our inspection processing and products,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Standing Technical Committee on Zero Reject of Agricultural Produce will soon embark on nationwide advocacy on agricultural quality and control.
The planned exercise, which will take place in the six geo political zones commences from July 23 to Aug. 26.