Zaria (Kaduna State), Dec. 11, 2023: The Federal Government says it will investigate alleged case of substandard fertiliser and other issues raised by wheat farmers at Kauran Juli, Zaria, Kaduna State.
The wheat farmers, beneficiaries of the federal government National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro Pocket (NAGS – AP) protests over allegations of distributing substandard inputs.
The farmers, under the aegis of Galma Wheat Farmers, carried placards with inscriptions: `We don’t want Iliyasawa Fertilizer’; and ‘Real wheat farmers should be considered’, among others.
The Minister of State, Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Aliyu-Sabi Abdullahi, assured the protesting farmers that the situation at Zaria was entirely different from what was recorded at Makarfi and Ikara centres he visited.
According to him, the federal government did give the exact brand name of the fertiliser to be distributed as such the agro-dealer can distribute what is available in the market.
“However, most of the fertilisers in the market were approved by the relevant regulatory bodies before they became available in the market stores.
“We give assurance that `Iliyasawa fertiliser’ was certified to be good and it should be accepted as such,
“That notwithstanding, samples were taken from the fertiliser for further analysis at both the federal and state government laboratories to ascertain the veracity of your (farmers) claims,’’ Abdullahi said.
He, therefore, urged them to exercise patience and await the results from the laboratories and assured that if it turnef out to be bad the government would not spare him.
In an interview with newsmen, the minister said he was in Kaduna state on the spot assessment for the distribution of subsidised inputs to dry season wheat farmers at Makarfi, Ikara and Zaria.
He said at Zaria there were two issues from the protesting farmers: the quality of fertiliser and number of people who were at redemption to redeem the inputs.
Abdullahi said farmers protest that many of them could not redeem their inputs.
However, the minister said he has seen the problem and he would go back; get across to other stakeholders to salvage the situation.
He noted that wheat was very sensitive to weather and the time frame within which to plant was fast elapsing, that was ”why we pushed to see that more farmers were able to redeem the inputs”.
The minister said the redemption of the inputs was absolutely fantastic at Ikara and Makarfi redemption centres.
However, Alhaji Muktar Gyallesu, the Farm Leader for Tudun Wada, Gyallesu and Tudun Jukun areas in Zaria Local Government Area, said the specific fertiliser approved for the farmers was Urea (Indorama brand) and NPK 15:15:15 (matrix brand)
According to him, their agro dealer (Iliyasawa Fertilizer Ltd) was initially distributing the approved brand to the beneficiaries.
“Suddenly, he changed to his own company NPK iliyasawa brand with ratio 15:10:10 and the real beneficiaries who were earlier captured were not attended to by the dealer.
“Non-members who were not captured and did not have slip of the application forms were attended by dealers and some agents bought inputs from them at an amount between N15,000 and N20,000, hence their protest,’’ Gyallesu said.